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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-11-17

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, November 17, 2001


  • [01] Police probe ordered into ambulance death
  • [02] Second official charged with illegal land transfers
  • [03] Turks fail in effort for Islamic recognition
  • [04] Passport applications from Turkish Cypriots have tripled
  • [05] One in five pupils go to private schools
  • [06] Fury in DIKO ranks over pejorative comments about party's sole female deputy
  • [07] Government to set up breast cancer committee
  • [08] Police believe wanted Yugoslav hiding with friends

  • [01] Police probe ordered into ambulance death

    By Elias Hazou

    A POLICE investigation is under way into why a 45-year-old man died while being transported in an ambulance from the coastal town of Paralimni to Nicosia.

    Christofi Christofi Kambouris from Paralimni, injured in a car accident on 26 October, was transferred to the Nicosia General Hospital for better treatment.

    The patient never made it to Nicosia, after complications arose while he lay in the ambulance. Reportedly Christofi threw up and then swallowed his vomit.

    That, at least, was the conclusion of an autopsy carried out by state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous in the presence of deputy Marios Matsakis, also a qualified pathologist.

    Matsakis, who has frequently been at odds with the Minister of Health, cited the absence of qualified paramedics on ambulances, saying the man's life could have been saved had proper care been available en route to Nicosia.

    The issue of paramedics on ambulances has been pending for years. Back in October 1999, Health Minister Frixos Savvides promised to open a paramedic training school aimed at stemming the road death rate, but so far no action has been taken.

    The police investigation into possible criminal negligence by medical staff in Christofi's death was initiated at the request of Savvides, who has also appointed a ministry official to carry out an administrative investigation.

    At a news conference yesterday, Savvides regretted the loss of life due to the absence of paramedics, adding he had relayed his apologies to the deceased's relatives.

    The Health Minister yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthat the government had allocated funds for the setting up of a paramedics training programme that would get under way at the beginning of next year. The aim is to create a centralised system, where paramedics are independent of individual hospitals' protocol.

    But Savvides yesterday also seemed to leave pathologist Sophocleous out in the cold, when he suggested the first autopsy had been inadequate, as it failed to examine " vital organs"such as the patient's throat and lungs.

    According to Savvides, a second autopsy was carried out and its findings were " completely different"to that of the first examination. The second autopsy pointed to rupture of the stomach and bleeding as the cause of death.

    The minister questioned the validity of the first autopsy, saying it only cited " probable cause of death"and wondered why Matsakis had agreed with its findings.

    That triggered a war of words between the minister and the deputy. Although Matsakis welcomed the police investigation, he said Savvides had initiated it " for all the wrong reasons"in a bid to " disorient public opinion"and turn attention away from the real issue, the absence of paramedic services.

    Matsakis yesterday questioned whether a full second autopsy was in fact carried out, and challenged the Health Minister to produce the findings of the second autopsy.

    The outspoken deputy further questioned Savvides' understanding of autopsies, adding the whole issue was being exploited at the detriment of the deceased's family and friends. Christofi's funeral was scheduled for yesterday, but was postponed at the last minute when the Health Ministry ordered the second examination.

    " The only reason I can think of for why this issue has gone out of hand is that it seems Savvides did not 'like' the findings of Sophocleous' autopsy, "Matsakis told the Cyprus Mail .

    He added that, a few days ago, another deputy had pointed to the lack of paramedic services, and that Savvides had agreed with those views.

    " But when I came along and said my piece, the Medical Association even threatened to take disciplinary action against me. If this is not a clear attempt at gagging me, I don't know what is."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Second official charged with illegal land transfers

    By George Psyllides

    A SECOND Land Survey Department official was yesterday charged in connection with the illegal transfer of land in the Tylliria area, while the Nicosia district court renewed the remand order of a Nicosia businessman suspected of being involved in the case.

    On Wednesday, Land Survey department official Michalis Kalathas, 46, was charged with 10 counts including forgery and circulation of official documents, receiving bribes and cover-up.

    Kalathas was also charged with conspiring with Pigenia Muchtar Vassos Stylianou to defraud by illegally transferring and subsequently selling land in the Pigenia area.

    Stylianou will also have to answer to seven charges of abuse of authority, bribing state officials, corruption and concealment.

    Yesterday, Costas Makaritis, 58, who had been arrested along with Kalathas, was charged with nine counts of bribery, corruption, abuse of authority, concealment and extortion.

    The court heard that, in September 1999, the defendant undertook to register a plot of land in Ayia Varvara on the outskirts of Nicosia to a certain Elli Violari, who claimed the land on the grounds that she was using it.

    It turned out that the defendant issued the title deed knowing that Violari had no legal right to the land, the court heard.

    In return, police told the court, Makaritis allegedly transferred part of the land to his name.

    In a separate instance, Makaritis allegedly received 200 from Violari's representative for his involvement in processing the registration of land in a different area of Ayia Varvara.

    His trial starts on December 11.

    But Makaritis and Kalathas could be in more trouble after it was revealed on Thursday that police were looking into 33 other land survey department files, allegedly handled by the pair, which seem to contain suspicious transactions.

    The Nicosia district court yesterday renewed the remand of businessman Costakis Constantinou for another six days.

    Constantinou, along with the Muchtar of Kato Pyrgos Krinos Theophanous and two other men allegedly involved in the scam, have not been charged yet.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Turks fail in effort for Islamic recognition

    By Jennie Matthew

    EFFORTS TO convince the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) of the legitimacy of Rauf Denktash's regime in the north have come to nothing, despite renewed efforts to that effect.

    At a meeting in New York yesterday, the OIC upheld a September 12 UN statement, rejected by Denktash as insufficient in accrediting him full recognition.

    " The equal status of the two parties must and should be recognised explicitly in the comprehensive settlement, which will embody the results of the detailed negotiations required to translate this concept into clear and practical provisions,"reads the UN statement.

    Re-ignited efforts by Turkey to get the Muslim world to recognise Greek Cypriot " acts of terror"were launched in response to comments from Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides that the government would work to prevent recognition of the north by Islamic countries.

    Turkey is the only state to recognise the 'Turkish Republic of North Cyprus'.

    But the OIC yesterday toed the international line, urging a negotiated settlement acceptable to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Their insistence that the two sides " reciprocally acknowledge each other's equal status in order to pave the way for a lasting solution"is unlikely to satisfy Denktash.

    Neither will their claim that a " just and negotiated settlement"would respect the " legitimate aspirations"of Turkish Cypriots.

    Despite a message of solidarity to " the rightful cause of the Turkish Muslim people of Cyprus,"the OIC made no fundamental change to its stance towards north Cyprus.

    As a non-state, the 'TRNC' does not even qualify for " observer status"at the OIC, but the north does send delegations to the conference.

    Speaking last month about the matter, the 'ministry of foreign affairs' in occupied Nicosia said it was a process that would take time.

    " This is not a question of making specific applications or petitions to the OIC or any other organisation. This is a process which will take time, but we believe that we will be successful in the end,"he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Passport applications from Turkish Cypriots have tripled

    THE NUMBER of applications from Turkish Cypriots for Cyprus Republic passports has more than tripled in the last two years, Interior Minister Christodoulou Christodoulou said yesterday.

    The count was made public just weeks after the Turkish Cypriot administration tried to resurrect a bill that would make it illegal for people in the north to carry a Cyprus passport.

    The bill was temporarily shelved in the face of public opposition.

    Compared to a two-year average of about 200 requests, Christodoulou said the government was now coping with 600-800 applications.

    " It is clear that Turkish Cypriots understand that with a Cypriot passport they can acquire important benefits from the coming accession to the European Union,"he said.

    " Mr Denktash's illegal, dictatorial and inhuman policies are a sign of his increasing desperation,"the Minister added, alluding to the bill to outlaw Cypriot passports.

    Turkey is the only country that recognises passports issued by the so- called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. If Cyprus joins the EU, possession of a Cypriot passport would allow Turkish Cypriots to live and work anywhere in Europe.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] One in five pupils go to private schools

    NEARLY ONE in five children are educated in private schools, according to figures issued by the Statistics Department yesterday.

    Nearly a fifth, some 19.7 per cent of school-age children are enrolled at fee-paying schools, opposed to 80.3 per cent registered in state schools.

    The average pupil-teacher ratio stands at 14:1, with 163,654 full-time pupils and 11,567 teachers working in 1,210 institutions.

    The government spent 15.6 per cent of its total budget on education, around 286.8 million, equivalent to 5.7 per cent of GDP.

    The annual cost of educating a child at a state school worked out at 1,272 for pre-primary, 1,444 for primary, 2,092 for secondary and 5,081 for tertiary education.

    Greece is still the number one favourite for Cypriot students pursing further education abroad.

    Some 52.8 per cent flocked to the motherland, 23.2 per cent to the UK and 14 per cent to the US.

    Last year, 26,155 pupils were enrolled at pre-primary level, 63,715 at primary, 63,043 at secondary, 10,414 in tertiary education and 327 in special education.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Fury in DIKO ranks over pejorative comments about party's sole female deputy

    By George Psyllides

    OUTSPOKEN DIKO deputy Nicos Pittokopitis has the made the headlines once more after he verbally attacked a woman deputy and called her a &lt;i&gt; Katina&lt;/i&gt;- a gossip and a trouble-stirrer.

    Reports said Pittocopitis' outburst against party colleague Antigoni Papadopoulou came after he found out she had informed local party members of his refusal to table the Kokkinotrimithia-Nicosia road issue before the House Communications Committee that he presides.

    The incident happened on Thursday during a meeting of DIKO's parliamentary group.

    Pittokopitis allegedly said Papadopoulou was behaving like a neighbourhood gossip.

    Yesterday, Pittokopittis refused to comment on the essence of the matter.

    " No comment, because never in my life have I abused anyone, because he who abuses has no arguments,"the Paphos deputy said.

    Pittokopitis said he did not have to apologise to anyone and had nothing to add as that would make him a gossip too.

    " We have to keep our seriousness, have to have arguments, positions, and be serious in our expressions, both privately and publicly,"he said.

    To make his point he paraphrased an ancient Greek adage: " What is said at home doesn't become public as far as Pittokopitis is concerned."

    For her part, Papadopoulou said she hoped the issue would go no further.

    " When you use such language it means you have no arguments; everyone's opinion is respected but through dialogue and diversity of opinions, "Papadopoulou said.

    She used the same adage, adding that she would not drag the issue on.

    " I have no time to deal with trivial issues; I'm sorry if someone's zeal provokes such reaction and I hope it is an isolated incident,"she said.

    But DIKO colleague Marios Matsakis, who took Papadopoulou's side and left the meeting in protest, had more to say on the matter.

    " If Mr. Pittokopitis wants women to wear a &lt;i&gt; burqa&lt;/i&gt;then I thing he should change his attitude,"Matsakis said.

    He added: " You can't take such a distinguished member of DIKO and treat her like a woman of the street before the parliamentary group."

    Matsakis said Pittokopitis' treatment of DIKO's sole female deputy was unacceptable.

    " If we don't protect her, how can we tell people that we strive for women's protection?"

    But Matsakis also took a shot at the party's Parliamentary Representative Nicos Cleanthous, who he said not only took Pittokopitis' side but also encouraged the assault against Papadopoulou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Government to set up breast cancer committee

    A NATIONAL breast cancer committee is to be set up on the island, Health Minister Frixos Savvides announced yesterday.

    The announcement came during a news conference held by the Cancer Patients and Friends Association as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign currently under way.

    The committee would be up and running soon, and its members had already been appointed, Savvides said.

    Some 300 new cases of the disease are reported annually in Cyprus, although a spokesperson at the news conference said the percentage of deaths from the disease had markedly decreased due to early detection as a result of screening and improved cancer treatments, such as hormonal and chemotherapy treatments. But the disease is still the main cause of death for women aged 35-54 and the second cause, after cardiovascular diseases, for women aged over 55.

    Anna Achileoudis, chairwoman of the Cancer Patients Association, noted all women in Cyprus received breast cancer treatment free of charge. Improved treatment included psychological counselling and home care, while low- income families were being provided with financial assistance.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Police believe wanted Yugoslav hiding with friends

    By Elias Hazou

    A POLICE manhunt for a 31-year-old Yugoslav murder suspect has so far produced no results, with authorities believing the suspect is using safe houses and hideouts provided by friends.

    Dragan Prvulovic is wanted in connection with a homicide last Saturday at a packed Limassol nightclub. Eyewitnesses said the suspect shot a Cypriot man point-blank after the two had got into an argument. Prvulovic fled the scene and has been at large ever since.

    Limassol police director Charalambos Koulendis said the homicide suspect was still on the island, most probably in Limassol. Prvulovic was being sheltered by friends, Koulendis said. He added that an arrest warrant was yesterday issued for Prvulovic's girlfriend and housemate, on suspicion of harbouring a wanted criminal. The woman has been identified as 24-year-old Ana Kostic, also Yugoslav.

    Given " possible extenuating circumstances"during the crime, Koulendis said the authorities would consider leniency in the event the suspect turned himself in.

    Prvulovic has also been confirmed to be the director of a front offshore company in Limassol. The suspect has no past criminal record. Koulendis confirmed that Cyprus police had contacted Interpol for assistance and were waiting for a response.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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