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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-11-23

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

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


Friday, November 23, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Savvides: 'Some doctors do take bribes'
  • [02] Truckers lift port blockade
  • [03] Taxpayers' cash wasted by inefficient civil service
  • [04] Cyprus debate to be kept secret for 10 years
  • [05] National breast cancer plan starts on February 1
  • [06] Give us time to sort out canteens, Ministry pleads
  • [07] Dialogue of the deaf as Hasikos meets Turkish Defence Minister in Brussels
  • [08] Euro funding boost for new Nicosia hospital
  • [09] Gunman pumped 26 rounds into Lemis
  • [10] Papapetrou: we don't want an endless set of talks

  • [01] Savvides: 'Some doctors do take bribes'

    By Melina Demetriou

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday confirmed that some state doctors accepted bribes to give preferential treatment to patients.

    House Health Committee chairman Antonis Karas of DISY yesterday claimed some doctors at state hospitals took bribes from patients in order to give them preferential treatment. He was speaking during a committee discussion on cancer.

    " I have information about some doctors asking for money from patients. I plead with the courageous citizens of the Republic to report those incidents to us and give us some evidence to assist us in implementing the law when necessary.

    " We want to combat this behavior but we need the public's help. Without it we can do nothing,"Karas told the committee.

    Asked to comment after the committee meeting was over, Minister Savvides said: "It does happen sometimes, we receive complaints, but fortunately the situation is not out of hand like it is in Greece."

    Savvides urged anyone who did have complaints of this kind to make them in writing so the government could make sure that "heads will roll" .

    " I call on those who have a complaint to express it in writing rather than verbally. I assure them that they will have the government's protection, "the minister said.

    Savvides added that if someone had evidence related to such cases of bribery they should submit it to the police.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Truckers lift port blockade

    THE COMMUNICATIONS Minister yesterday broke the deadlock at Limassol port by agreeing to start a dialogue with protesting truck drivers as long as they lifted their blockade of the entrance and got to work to process the containers that had accumulated since Wednesday.

    The drivers are unhappy at having to drive their lorries through an x-ray machine, concerned it will harm their health.

    On Wednesday, the drivers blocked the entrance to the port after the port authority prohibited the exit of those lorries that had not undergone an x- ray check.

    Minister Averoff Neophytou visited the port yesterday afternoon and explained to the drivers that the blockade was hurting the economy.

    The drivers agreed to remove their trucks and start talks on Monday.

    Neophytou said the drivers had agreed to work overtime to clear the backlog and that the containers would go through the scanner but not with the drivers on board.

    The minister's swift action came with drivers threatening to block the port indefinitely until their demands were met.

    A union representative on Wednesday threatened to urge all lorry drivers to converge on the port to assist their colleagues.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Taxpayers' cash wasted by inefficient civil service

    MILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers' money have been wasted due to mismanagement in the public sector, according to the Auditor-general's annual report, released yesterday.

    Speaking after handing her hefty 350-page report to President Glafkos Clerides, Auditor-general Chrystalla Georkadji said the civil service lacked the necessary management systems, which cause problems in planning and the coordination of services in addition to delays in completing projects.

    WEAKNESSES

    She said more needed to be done regarding the management of public funds despite recent improvements.

    " The public sector has weaknesses due to the philosophy and the way it functions,"Georkadji said.

    She added that many countries went through the same conditions but gradually modernised to respond to the public's needs more efficiently.

    Equipment at Nicosia's new hospital is expected to cost 13 million more because of delays in issuing the specifications, while delays in the study and tenders for the new Famagusta hospital will cost 3 million extra.

    The state's indecision on the site of the new House of Representatives has cost 650,000 in studies, while improvements to the old building, to accommodate deputies until the new House is completed, will reach 3 million.

    PLANNING

    " The biggest weakness is planning and coordination in executing large construction projects,"Georkadji said.

    She said in other countries various government departments set specific goals, which are submitted to parliament and at the end of each year that department has to report on their progress.

    Concerning local authorities, Georkadji said municipalities had serious financial problems and weaknesses in fund management.

    Local boards were in an even worse position but there was hope that through specific suggestions the situation would improve, she said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Cyprus debate to be kept secret for 10 years

    TURKEY'S parliament will shut its doors to cameras and reporters today to hold a closed debate on Cyprus.

    The unusual closed session, announced by parliamentary officials yesterday, comes as President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash prepare for their first face-to-face meeting in more than four years.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem is expected to address today's session, called by a group of legislators concerned that the Cyprus issue is approaching a critical point.

    Officials said the transcript of today's closed session would remain a state secret for 10 years. Ankara sees the situation on Cyprus, off its southern coast, as of direct importance to Turkey's national security.

    Cyprus is a frontrunner for European Union membership in the next few years, adding to the urgency for a settlement.

    Turkey has said it might fully annex the north of the island if Cyprus joins the EU, something that could dash Ankara's own EU membership aspirations. EU member Greece has said it could veto the accession of other aspiring EU members, like Poland and Hungary, until Cyprus joins the Union.

    The European Union has said it would like to see a political settlement on the island before Cyprus joins but that the lack of a deal will not prevent its accession.

    Clerides and Denktash are to meet on December 4 in the presence of a senior UN envoy.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] National breast cancer plan starts on February 1

    By M elina Demetriou

    A NATIONAL plan aimed at the early detection of breast cancer and its effective treatment will be up and running on February 1, Health Minister Frixos Savvides announced yesterday during a meeting of the Parliamentary Health Committee.

    The government has been working to implement the scheme for the past three years and has only recently managed to overcome procedural obstacles.

    Once the plan comes into effect, 50,000 women over 35 will be tested for breast cancer for free every year. Every year will see a new group of women being tested. The government will decide the order in which women will be tested.

    The scheme also provides for the treatment of breast cancer in both early and later stages.

    Breast cancer treatment programmes are already run by state hospitals but are not considered as effective, modern and cheap as the new plan is expected to be.

    " The Health Ministry is to buy services from a private company, which will provide it with the scientific knowledge and the equipment needed to carry out the task,"said Savvides.

    " We have finally managed to overcome problems with decisions concerning tenders,"the minister said without elaborating.

    A newly-established state committee responsible for the realisation of the scheme held it first meeting yesterday afternoon chaired by Savvides.

    Deputies on the Health Committee saluted the government's initiative but some of them expressed concerns that not everything was set for the project to kick off in February.

    DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis suggested the government should hire foreign experts to help with the anti-cancer plan.

    But the minister dismissed Matsakis' proposal as " offensive to the state health services" .

    Savvides insisted his ministry could carry out the project without any help from foreign experts.

    " You are all invited to a dinner I will give on February 1 to celebrate the kick-off of the plan,"Savvides told the Committee to reassure them everything would go as planned.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Give us time to sort out canteens, Ministry pleads

    By Jean Christou

    THE EDUCATION Ministry yesterday defended itself against accusations that it had done nothing to combat dirty and overpriced school canteens.

    Elias Demetriou, the chairman of the Pancyprian Parents' Association, said on Wednesday that the Ministry had failed to implement regulations for the proper control of school canteens.

    Demetriou was responding to a report by the Ministry that many school canteens were endangering the health of children due to lax hygiene and cost cutting.

    According to the Ministry's report, 57 per cent of school canteen staff do not conform to hygiene regulations and 14 per cent of establishments do not have valid health certificates. Most also sold items not approved by the Ministry for consumption by school children.

    The hard-hitting report said that, in several cases, local school committees did not bother to check the canteens, as required by law, because they often had friendly relations with canteen owners.

    Demetriou said the Education Ministry itself was to blame for failing to enforce the regulations, following a change in the law regarding canteen operations.

    Under the new regulations, the headmaster of every school should submit a canteen report to the Ministry twice a year.

    Demetriou added part of the reason the schools and the Ministry often failed to compile proper reports was that many canteens were owned by school board members and that there were " other interests"at work.

    An Education Ministry spokesman said yesterday they were preparing a response to the accusations.

    " The new law only came into effect last year and we are doing everything we can to have it implemented effectively,"the spokesman said. " There are some difficulties, but the Ministry is doing as much as it can at this early stage."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Dialogue of the deaf as Hasikos meets Turkish Defence Minister in Brussels

    A FACE-to-face meeting between Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos and his Turkish counterpart Sabahattin Cakmakoglu in Brussels this week was a complete fiasco, the government said yesterday.

    Hasikos was in Brussels to discuss Cyprus' contribution to the European defence force as part of a meeting of foreign and defence ministers from candidate countries.

    On his return to the island late on Wednesday, Hasikos confirmed earlier reports from Brussels that the Turkish Defence Ministry had rejected any demilitarisation of the island. The demilitarisation of Cyprus is a long- standing proposal by President Glafcos Clerides, which has been adopted into UN resolutions on he Cyprus problem.

    " I had a face-to-face meeting with the Turkish Defence Minster, who confirmed Ankara's intransigence and insisted on all the well-known Turkish positions regarding the recognition of the pseudostate and the solution they want, based on two states under a confederation,"Hasikos told journalists on his return to the island.

    Asked how long his meeting with Cakmakoglu had lasted, Hasikos said: " The meeting lasted long enough for me to get the message from the Turkish side, "he said.

    He added that his message to the Turkish Minister was that the Greek Cypriot side was willing to seek a solution through honest dialogue.

    " I explained that if Cyprus joined the EU without a solution it would hurt the Turkish Cypriots, but it seems they are not concerned and believe Cyprus won't join the EU,"Hasikos said.

    " This is the position of my Turkish counterpart."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Euro funding boost for new Nicosia hospital

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS will become the first non-EU country to receive funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a health project after a deal is signed today for a loan of 50 million euros (30 million) for the new Nicosia General Hospital.

    The agreement will be signed in Nicosia by EIB Director-general Terence Brown and Finance Minister Takis Klerides.

    This will be the first EIB loan in the health sector in a candidate country.

    The new hospital is being built some three kilometres south east of the capital. It will comprise a main hospital building of 59,000 square metres and is due to be completed in July 2003.

    The hospital will provide 430 inpatient beds in 18 nursing units for general surgery and medicine, including orthopaedics, cardiology, nephrology, neurosurgery and critical care services also covering burns, ITU and coronary care.

    A spokesman at the Health Ministry said yesterday that the total cost of the new hospital would be around 55 million, some 45 million for the building and 10 million for equipment. The hospital is expected to be ready on target within the next two years, the spokesman said.

    As part of the Cyprus application, EIB officials examined all plans for the new hospital and made their own recommendations. The funds are being provided under the EIB's current8.5 billion pre-accession lending facility, which runs up to the year 2003.

    The pre-accession facility is aimed at projects that will support he integration of candidate countries with the EU.

    Particular emphasis is being given to environmental protection as well as communications, infrastructure, industrial competitiveness and regional development. Cyprus has so far received300 million (175 million) under this facility.

    EIB officials have also discussed with Cypriot officials the funding for the new university campus, which are said to be at an advanced stage. That project also fulfils all the requirements for the application to be considered.

    The university project is expected to take ten years to complete, but will be carried out in stages. The EIB funding will also be dished out gradually, with the first instalment expected to be nearly 12 million.

    The entire cost of the university campus has been put at around 75 million.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Gunman pumped 26 rounds into Lemis

    By George Psyllides

    POLICE have unleashed a nationwide manhunt for the capture of the gunman who executed a 38-year-old man in Larnaca on Wednesday night.

    Charalambos Neoptolemos Lemis, from Limassol, was gunned down in a Larnaca shop at 7.10pm by a hooded killer armed with an automatic weapon.

    The owner of the shop, Charalambos Charalambous, told police the gunman wore a hood and was clad in black.

    The cold-blooded murderer entered the shop and fired burst of automatic weapon fire at Lemis, who slumped onto the counter, Charalambous said.

    The gunman then turned to Charalambous and two other customers and threatened them; he then fired two more bursts at Lemis.

    Several rounds apparently ricochet and smashed the front window without injuring anyone.

    The gunman calmly left the shop and got into an awaiting car, which sped off in an unknown direction.

    Pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous, who carried out the post mortem yesterday, said Lemis had been hit by 26 rounds from an automatic weapon.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said yesterday he did not expect an escalation in violence from possible retaliatory hits, adding however that he could not be categorical.

    Lemis, originally from Trahoni, had a rich criminal record dating back to his youth.

    He had been convicted for several crimes and, according to police, was involved in numerous bombings, drugs cases and other serious crime.

    In 1990, Lemis was arrested for firearms possession, while two years later he was questioned in connection with the murder of an Ypsonas man.

    In 1996, he was arrested for drugs and explosives possession and a year later for accepting stolen goods and obtaining money using false pretences.

    There had been five previous attempts against Lemis' life.

    The most serious one was the August 1998 bombing of his bar, in which he was seriously injured.

    After that, Lemis moved to Larnaca where he opened a bar. Lemis was considered to be a close associate of Loucas Fanieros, a prominent figure on the Larnaca scene.

    A few months ago, Lemis was arrested in connection with the bombing of a kiosk belonging to the brother of a police officer.

    He was also suspected of being involved in a blackmail case and was questioned about a share scam for which Antonis Fanieros was convicted.

    Friends of the victim said that in recent days he had appeared worried about his safety.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Papapetrou: we don't want an endless set of talks

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT warned yesterday it did not want to become involved in a series of endless meetings with the Turkish Cypriot side after the leaders of the two communities meet on December 4.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily press briefing yesterday that next month's meeting did not mark the beginning of a new or parallel process to that of the UN-led proximity talks.

    Papapetrou said the December 4 meeting could be followed by a second one, but that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would then have to clarify whether he was ready to continue the UN-led talks and define the type of talks he was willing to attend, whether on a face-to-face or proximity basis.

    " If the whole effort comes to an end at the first meeting, there will be no reason for a second one,"Papapetrou said.

    The spokesman also said that if Denktash was not willing to compromise and objected to the continuation of the talks, the government would carry on with its plan to join the European Union and persuade the international community that Turkey was responsible for the lack of progress in Cyprus.

    Papapetrou insisted the December 4 meeting would be held within the framework of the existing UN-led process and be aimed at giving some impetus to the stalled process.

    It will be the first time since August 1997 that Clerides and Denktash meet face-to-face. The two leaders had since December 1999 been engaged in the UN-led proximity talks, which Denktash abandoned a year ago after failing to secure recognition of his breakaway regime.

    It was Denktash who suggested the meeting on December 4 and the Greek Cypriot side agreed after an exchange of letters last week.

    However, the talks were dealt a blow before they even began when it was revealed on Tuesday that Denktash had last week written to UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan reiterating his support for confederation and the creation of two states in Cyprus with separate sovereignty - positions that run contrary to UN resolutions.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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