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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-11-09

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

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


Friday, November 9, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Death crash driver convicted of negligence
  • [02] Union fury at 'illegal' pre-Christmas sales
  • [03] GREECE and Turkey signed a raft of agreements building on their newfound friendship yesterday, but deep differences remained exposed over Cyprus.
  • [04] Clerides: Annan will only issue invitations if he's sure of positive response
  • [05] 'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit
  • [06] New remand in spiralling land scandal
  • [07] Index up again but banks slip
  • [08] Deputies oppose creation of new unit to fight terrorist funding

  • [01] Death crash driver convicted of negligence

    THE DRIVER of a mini-bus which crashed in the Troodos mountains killing eight people almost two years ago was yesterday found guilty of causing death by negligence.

    Seven Filipinos and a three-year-old Cypriot boy were killed on January 30, 2000 when the bus driven by Costas Zypitis smashed into a concrete barrier on a sharp bend in the road between Platres and Moniatis.

    Zypitis, aged 42, from Aradippou near Larnaca, was yesterday found guilty by the Limassol District Court on nine charges of causing death due to negligent behaviour. The Court is expected to sentence him today.

    The Court heard that " his actions in carrying all those people on that bus whose brakes had a problem constituted serious negligence" .

    Mini-bus owner George Kallis had testified against his driver. Leaving the court yesterday, Zypitis burst into tears, claiming Kallis should be blamed for the tragic incident instead of him. He insisted he was not a criminal.

    Since 1983, 12 other people have died in accidents on the same bend in the steep mountain road, known locally as the 'death bend'.

    The minibus was taking a group of 36 mostly Filipino day-trippers including seven children back down to Larnaca after a day out in the snow.

    The small bus slammed into the six-foot high concrete crash barrier, then overturned before skidding some 200 metres down the road.

    Only three passengers escaped injury in the horrific smash, one of the worst on the island in recent years.

    A number of warning signs have since been put up on the road leading to the fatal bend and an escape lane is under construction.

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Union fury at 'illegal' pre-Christmas sales

    By Alexia Saoulli

    RETAILERS are flagrantly breaking the law by holding sales in the run-up to Christmas, the chief of shopkeepers' union POVEK charged yesterday.

    Sales remain restricted by law to set periods in the New Year and August, but many shops are flouting the regulations during what ought to be their peak retail period.

    POVEK General Secretary Melios Georgiou told the Cyprus Mailhe had made formal complaints to the Commerce Ministry and the police.

    " It's illegal and unfair for some shopkeepers to cheat and sell their products at reduced prices while others are abiding by a law that clearly states when sales can and cannot take place"Georgiou said yesterday.

    He added the run-up to Christmas was a peak selling season for retailers, and a time when they were counting on making a profit for themselves.

    " It's bad enough that on top of the stock market blow, we've had the September 11 attacks and the current global war on terrorism and sales have taken a huge dip - let alone having some people being unfairly competitive by selling their products at lower prices and thwarting honest, law abiding shopkeepers,"he said.

    On Tuesday, Georgiou met Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis and officially reported a specific sports shop, as well as informing the police.

    " I told the Minister that he should take all necessary measures in seeing that these culprits are made to adhere to the law.

    " They should be taken to court and we, as a union, are going to wait and see exactly how the Ministry acts,"said Georgiou.

    However, unless an official complaint is corroborated by evidence, there is nothing the Ministry can do, according to George Mitides, Director of Competition and Consumer Protection at the Ministry of Commerce.

    " It might be illegal for shopkeepers to sell products at a discounted price, but it is not considered illegal to advertise discounts in shop windows, as that that would be considered an infringement on freedom of speech according to the Republic's constitution"Mytides said.

    He said that several years ago, shop window signs such as " Bargain Prices" , " Give-away price all year round!"or even " 50% discounts here"were gathered as evidence and sent to the Attorney-general's office.

    However, the reply came that advertising in itself was not a breach of the law, and unless someone was to step forward and actually prove a discounted sale nothing could be done to take shops to court.

    " Therefore if there's no evidence that sales at lower prices have been made, the sports shop will not be taken to court by us.

    " And besides, why should you take only one shop to court when to our knowledge there are thousands of shops that break the law,"he said.

    According to Mitides, the problem is neither new nor specific to any particular area. It is a nationwide, year round problem.

    " There's always an excuse for illegal discounts and as long as these excuses exist the problem will continue"Mitides said.

    He added it would be too time-consuming and costly for the Ministry to send out its own people to investigate for themselves, so the Ministry would await specific complaints, with evidence before taking any action.

    Mitides would not comment on POVEK's claim that the retail industry was suffering due to the current global crisis, adding he was not in position to say whether or not the Ministry would take measures to help. He added, however, that the issue of sales had not appeared since September 11 and did not think the two were related.

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] GREECE and Turkey signed a raft of agreements building on their newfound friendship yesterday, but deep differences remained exposed over Cyprus.

    " Obviously the longer a solution is not there, the longer this problem will be there as a thorn in our side," Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou told a news conference with his visiting Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem.

    Both officials have been instrumental in thawing a decades-old chill in relations between the two NATO allies. Yesterday, they signed agreements on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, creating a joint emergency disaster unit and co-operation among diplomats.

    Turkey also became the first country to endorse a policy document calling for an Olympic truce ahead of the 2004 games, being hosted by Athens.

    But the bitter division of Cyprus continues to overshadow efforts at rapprochement.

    "It's obvious that finding a mutually acceptable settlement on Cyprus will benefit our relationship," said Cem.

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit last week gave a hint of turbulence ahead by saying Ankara might annex occupied northern Cyprus if the island joined the European Union.

    Such an annexation would almost certainly jeopardise Turkey's own hopes of EU membership.

    Asked about Ecevit's remarks, Cem said: "I do not comment on what my prime minister has very openly said."

    Cyprus is expected to be included in the next wave of enlargement, due by 2003 at the earliest.

    Although nominally the whole of Cyprus would be granted membership, it would effectively apply only to the southern parts controlled by the internationally recognised government. (R)

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Clerides: Annan will only issue invitations if he's sure of positive response

    By Jean Christou

    UN SECRETARY-general Kofi Annan will issue a new invitation for Cyprus talks once he has been assured by both sides that they will attend, President Glafcos Clerides said yesterday.

    Speaking on arrival in New York, Clerides said the Turkish Cypriot side must not only return to the negotiating table but actually be prepared to negotiate.

    "All the indications are that the international community continues to be interested in the Cyprus question and will carry on with its efforts for a substantive and strengthened dialogue," Clerides said.

    He stressed, however, that the Turkish Cypriot side, which withdrew from the talks and rejected Annan's invitation to resume the dialogue, "should first return to the negotiating table and secondly return to negotiate."

    Clerides said that Annan had conveyed invitations to talks in early September, having secured the consent of both sides, but the Turkish side then turned down the invitation.

    "Both sides will have to give their consent for the Secretary-general to send an invitation, and usually Annan would not send invitations to talks unless he knew that the two sides would respond in a positive manner," Clerides added.

    In Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash repeated his invitation to Clerides to meet face-to-face because he said none of the mediation carried out so far had been successful. Denktash said he wanted to know what the Greek Cypriot was thinking.

    Clerides will meet Annan this afternoon in New York before addressing the UN General Assembly on Sunday.

    He was also due to meet US State Department Special Co-ordinator for

    Cyprus Thomas Weston last night and host a working lunch for the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council today.

    On Sunday, Clerides is scheduled to give a news conference after his address to the Assembly and will also attend a reception in honour of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, hosted by the Committee for the Rights of the Palestinians.

    Clerides will also host a working lunch on Monday for Annan's Special

    Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who is expected in New York today after visits to Nicosia, Athens and Ankara earlier this week.

    Later on Monday, Clerides will meet Britain's representative for the

    Cyprus problem Sir David Hannay.

    The President is due to leave New York next Wednesday to return to Cyprus via London.

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] 'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    By Jennie Matthew

    DESPITE condemnation from politicians and unions against the crime, police were yesterday no closer to making an arrest over the bomb left on the doorstep of a media proprietor.

    The bomb was placed outside the front door of the family home of Yiannis Papadopoulos, the proprietor of Politisnewspaper, on Monday morning.

    But Papadopoulos moved out of the house five years ago, when he and his wife separated.

    He was abroad at the time anyway. His wife and son discovered the device when they left the house for school just before 8am on Monday.

    They escaped unscathed and the bomb failed to detonate because of a fault with the fuse.

    But the fact that tragedy was averted did not spare the perpetrators in the eyes of the Journalists' Union, enraged that " gangsters"should dare violate the human rights and freedom of the press.

    " This was a violation of human rights, the freedom of the press and freedom of speech. It must be stigmatised by the public and the authorities have to take drastic measures to find those responsible for the bomb and bring them to justice,"said the Union.

    Police yesterday confirmed that they were treating the case as the first serious attack against the media in Cyprus.

    But the officer in charge of the Politisinvestigation told the Cyprus Mailyesterday he had no idea when anyone would be arrested.

    " We have not arrested anyone yet and I don't know if we will,"said Panayiotis Pelagias.

    He said police were working on the case every day, but as the investigation runs into its fifth day, the Journalists' Union stepped up their calls.

    In a letter addressed to Justice Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday, they stressed the need to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

    They also called on the Cyprus Newspaper and Magazine Association to hold an urgent meeting to protect the press.

    " We feel that your committee should meet as soon as possible to discuss measures to protect the freedom of the press and the criminal threats which attempt to undermine it,"read the letter.

    Pelagias refused to comment on the kind of bomb or on the damage it could have caused had it exploded.

    " But it's more serious that the bombs that people leave under cars,"he confirmed.

    Car bombs are a common occurrence in Cyprus, either as part of the organised crime scene or more amateur attempts to avenge slights.

    Papadopoulos founded Politisthree years ago as an independent newspaper to rival Phileleftheros .

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] New remand in spiralling land scandal

    By Jennie Matthew

    AN ELEVENTH suspect was yesterday remanded in custody in connection with the widening scandal about the illegal transfer of Turkish Cypriot land, then sold on to investors for millions.

    In a case that has rocked the island for two weeks and blackened officials at the Land Survey Department, neither the chief investigating officer nor Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday ruled out the possibility of further arrests.

    Chief investigating officer Tassos Panayiotou said yesterday that 16 officers were dealing with 13 different cases.

    He spoke after a second meeting with Attorney-general Alecos Markides in 24 hours.

    Costakis Constantinou, 38, from Engomi in Nicosia, is the 11 thperson taken into custody in connection with the scandal. He was arrested in the middle of the night of Monday to Tuesday.

    The judge yesterday granted the request for an eight-day remand, in order to give officers time to collect a lot of statements.

    Police have connected Constantinou to a document regarding the sale of Turkish Cypriot property in Ayios Theodoros in Tylliria, one of the cases from a file missing from the Land Survey Office.

    Markides yesterday refused to comment on the details or the progress of the investigations, but said he was reassured that police were on the right track.

    " A very good investigation is being conducted. Some cases have moved on. Some haven't yet, but you'll have to wait and see because I'm not going to make any statements,"he said.

    But Christodoulou, also briefed by police, told journalists that more remands could be expected next week.

    " Considering the measures that we have taken, I expect that some of these people will appear before court next week,"he said, adding that there was no need for legal landowners to panic.

    Asked how long the investigation was likely to take, Panayiotou was unable to say, but like the Minister he didn't rule out the possibility of further arrests.

    Asked whether there was a fundamental flaw in the practice of buying and selling property in Cyprus, Markides yesterday defended the law, which he said mirrored those in other countries.

    " This case doesn't mean we have to change a system that has been in place for a 100 years,"he said.

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Index up again but banks slip

    THE CYPRUS all-share index continued its upward trend yesterday, adding another 1.23 per cent to close at 138 points.

    The blue chip FTSE/CySE index lagged behind, however, with a marginal gain of only 0.23 per cent to close at 536 points as the two main banks fell victim to profit-taking following three days of gains on the bourse.

    " It was inevitable that some profit-taking would take place after three consecutive bull runs,"said one trader. " Luckily, the index managed to withstand the pressure."

    Volume for the day stood at a healthy 12 million, while the majority of sub-sectors ended in the black. Only the tourism, investment and banking sectors recorded losses of 0.23 per cent, 1.79 per cent and 0.55 per cent respectively.

    Both Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank ended the day one cent poorer at 1.96 and 1.55 respectively. BoC topped the most-active list and accounted for 1.2 million of total trading volume.

    CLR Investment Fund was also heavily traded, accounting for over one million pounds of the day's business, with 5.8 million shares changing hands. The stock added one cent to close at 18 cents.

    The session ended with 79 titles on the rise compared to 41 decliners and 28, which remained unchanged.

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Deputies oppose creation of new unit to fight terrorist funding

    By Melina Demetriou

    PARLIAMENT yesterday defied a government suggestion calling for the formation of an anti-terrorism unit.

    The proposal is included in a general anti-terrorism bill submitted to the House last month.

    But in a joint meeting yesterday, the House Legal and Foreign Affairs Committees decided against the establishment of such a force.

    It was decided that the Plenum would vote on the government bill minus the provision in question in a week's time.

    Some AKEL and New Horizons deputies last week charged that certain provisions of the bill were arbitrary.

    The bill rules that anyone found guilty under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism could face life imprisonment and/or a 2 million fine. It had also called for the formation of a special anti-terrorist unit, which would be modelled on the existing financial crime-fighting unit. The two units would, if necessary, have worked in conjunction and co-operated with other international crime- busting agencies.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides, who attended yesterday's committee meeting, said the decision not to go ahead with the anti-terrorism unit would not cause any serious problems.

    " We already have a financial crime fighting unit, which we'll have to expand in order to fight the funding of terrorism,"said Markides.

    The Legal and Foreign Affairs Committees also decided yesterday to introduce amendments to the bill to make the funding and operation of national liberation movements legal.

    KISOS honorary President and deputy Vassos Lyssarides said that there should be a clear distinction between" repulsive terrorism and liberation struggles" .

    " I believe this is also the view of international public opinion. The UN Charter is the blueprint of the human rights which liberation movements fight for,"Lyssarides argued.

    Markides last month tried to allay fears that the bill would limit basic freedoms, saying it basically extended current legislation on financial crime to the financing of terrorism.

    The government's authority to investigate bank accounts or other confidential documents and freeze or confiscate assets would, upon passage of the law, include people or organisations suspected of funding terrorism.

    'We may never arrest Politisbombers,' police admit

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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