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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-11-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, November 16, 2001


  • [01] Klerides drops growth estimate by 1 per cent
  • [02] Town Planners under fire 'for ignoring wall dispute'
  • [03] House bows to taxi pressure - for now
  • [04] Zampelas confident he will be mayor
  • [05] Helios applies to run Paphos-Tel Aviv route
  • [06] 15-year-old dies in crash

  • [01] Klerides drops growth estimate by 1 per cent

    By Jennie Matthew

    FINANCE Minister Takis Klerides yesterday said this year's estimate for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had fallen one per cent in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    He told Reuters that the war's punishing effect on tourist arrivals had slashed expected growth from 4.5 to 3.5 per cent.

    The government had initially expected a 4-5 per cent growth in the industry for 2001.

    But even before the New York catastrophe rocked the global economy, the government had downsized the growth estimates to 4 per cent.

    "Our growth rates were originally 4 per cent. After the first six months we revised it to 4.5 per cent and now, after September 11, we are revising it downwards to 3.5 per cent," Klerides said.

    Tourism contributes more than 20 per cent of the country's GDP, but this year's arrivals look set to stay the same as last year at 2.5 million people.

    Klerides yesterday stressed that corporate and income tax breaks in the new tax package would kick-start the economy and motivate investment and spending.

    The European Union has persistently criticised Cyprus for having an economy that is too dependent on tourism.

    This year's Progress Report 2001urged the government to improve conditions for enterprise and development, with particular attention to sector diversification. The EU also singled out competition as "in need of particularly urgent action".

    The slowdown means that the government may not reach its 2.2 per cent deficit target for 2001.

    Klerides said they were hoping to keep it below 2.74 per cent, the shortfall recorded in 2000.

    "It will definitely be below three per cent," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Town Planners under fire 'for ignoring wall dispute'

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE TOWN Planning Department in Nicosia has been accused of ignoring pressure from a lawyer and Strovolos Mayor Savvas Eliofotou to prevent builders of a new road from bulldozing part of an idyllic walled garden owned by an elderly expatriate businessman.

    Despite a meeting between the parties in dispute on October 11, a follow-up letter from the mayor and three from the lawyer, Town Planning has done nothing, they say, and letters calling for an amicable solution have gone unanswered.

    Maurice Brown and his wife have lived in their Strovolos home for 18 years, and were granted planning permission every step of the way. Nearly two years ago, however, contractors marked out a new road behind their garden, extending 140 square metres into their land.

    When challenged, the contractors said the Town Planning Department had approved the new road. If it were built, it would mean the Browns' outhouse, bar and storage building would have to be demolished, paving would be torn up, a satellite dish, two enormous olive trees and shrubbery would be uprooted, and their pool would be almost on the road.

    Efforts to reach a private agreement with the owners of the adjacent land -- who want to develop the site -- have come to nothing. Brown accuses the owners of refusing to sacrifice even one inch to the road. They claim the road is where it should be because when the Department of Land Registration approved the Browns' property, its officials failed to notice they would be building on the required margin of free land allowed for future roads.

    On October 11 the Strovolos Mayor chaired a meeting between the two sides and a representative from Town Planning, recommending that they get together to find a solution. But Brown's lawyer Constantinos Messios says the department has ignored a follow-up letter from Eliofotou and three from himself.

    In his third letter, written on November 7, lawyer Constantinos Messios branded the department's behaviour " unacceptable" , reiterating his client's desire for " a mutually acceptable and fair solution for all parties" .

    " The behaviour shown by your department's staff is especially regrettablerole of the public employee [is] to help and not to hinder ordinary people,"Messios said.

    The Mayor agrees. " If the Town Planning Department does not co-operate and is not ready to take certain responsibilities, they'll be in trouble for a long time. In my opinion we have two citizens who are both right in their own way. A mistake has been made somewhere in the system,"Eliofotou told the Cyprus Mail .

    " From my point of view, we have no objection if the pavement is smaller or the asphalt on the road narrower. But it's up to the Town Planning: we can only assist,"he said.

    Brown said a former land registry official advised him to keep quiet about the case last February, claiming that the authorities would never force him to break his boundaries so the road could be built.

    He said the road could be re-routed, but only with the owners' permission, which would diminish the value of their land, delay work and require lengthy re-applications for planning approval.

    The Browns are worried they will simply be issued with a compulsory purchase order once the development project nears completion.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] House bows to taxi pressure - for now

    By George Psyllides

    THE HOUSE of Representatives yesterday bowed to pressure from protesting taxi drivers and postponed discussion of controversial legislation requiring all vehicles to be the same colour and banning taxi-licence owners from transferring their permits.

    The drivers, who had announced a 12-hour strike for yesterday, gathered outside the House to protest against the decision, which they said was unfair.

    The government wants all taxis to be coloured ivory and a ban to be imposed on the transfer of taxi licences, which usually fetch their owners around 30,000.

    The owners argue that if they were not allowed to sell their licences they would end up with very little money.

    The bill also calls for the licensing authority to issue a number of new taxi licences, a development company owners fear will create a competitive environment in which they will be unable to survive.

    The protesters jeered ruling DISY deputies and vented their anger against Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou.

    Apart from some pushing and shoving between protesters trying to enter the House building and police, the demonstration was relatively calm. Tempers also cooled when the drivers were told that discussion of the bill would be postponed.

    Earlier a delegation of drivers met House President Demetris Christofias who assured them he would convey their demands to the party leaders that discussion of the bill be postponed.

    The party leaders agreed to the postponement and the issue will now probably return to the House Communications Committee for further discussion.

    The drivers want procedure for approving the legislation to be terminated and are asking for a chance to present their argument before the committee.

    But according to House sources the bill will probably return to the plenum for discussion in 15 days. The taxi drivers have threatened to appeal to the European Court if it is passed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Zampelas confident he will be mayor

    A CONFIDENT Michalis Zampelas officially submitted his candidacy for the Nicosia Mayoral race at the city's district offices yesterday.

    Zampelas, backed by the ruling party DISY, handed in his candidacy just after 11am, around half an hour after his only rival Kypros Chrysostomides, supported by the other three main political parties, did the same.

    Zampelas told journalists he was confident that he would become the new Mayor of Nicosia when the elections are held on December 16.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Helios applies to run Paphos-Tel Aviv route

    HELIOS Airways, the island's first privately owned operator, has applied to the government to operate charter flights from Paphos to Tel Aviv in Israel.

    An announcement from the airline yesterday said such a route would help Israeli tourists wanting to visit the island without having to go through Larnaca. Currently there are no direct flights from Paphos to Tel Aviv. Cyprus Airways operates almost daily flights to Tel Aviv from Larnaca, and it is one of the national carrier's most profitable routes.

    Helios said that since it is willing to take on the Paphos-Tel Aviv route, it was just a matter of time before the authorities gave their approval.

    " Since this route is highly demanded by tour operators, Helios Airways, in these times of air travel crisis, see an opportunity to satisfy the needs of those who wish to travel safely and comfortably."

    The airline said it would be ready to commence flights as early as the beginning of December.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] 15-year-old dies in crash

    A 15-YEAR-OLD high school pupil was the fourth person to be killed on the roads in less than 48 hours, when he was flung out of a car after it crashed at Salaminos Avenue in Pallouriotissa on Wednesday night.

    The accident happened at around midnight, when a car driven by Chrysovalantis Tellon, 17, swerved out of control and crashed,hurling its two passengers out of the vehicle.

    Achilleas Ioannou, 15, died instantly. Another passenger, 15-year-old Eliana Kyriakou, escaped unhurt and Tellon himself was seriously injured

    Tellon gave a statement to police, who charged him for driving without a licence.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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