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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-11-27

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, November 27, 2001


  • [01] Blaze wrecks family home in Psevdas
  • [02] Filipino faces deportation after complaint against police
  • [03] Makarios hospital treats 4,000 child heart patients a year
  • [04] George best discharged, flying home today
  • [05] Ecevit warns of 'genocide'
  • [06] Terrorist money laundering in the north?
  • [07] Minister wants coroner suspended
  • [08] Police set July deadline for rear seat belts
  • [09] Armed man bursts into ministry

  • [01] Blaze wrecks family home in Psevdas

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE Fire Department yesterday issued stern warnings on avoiding domestic fires after a family home was gutted in a devastating blaze on Sunday.

    The Psevdas home was reduced to ashes. Fire officers say the blaze may have been caused by a short-circuit in a fuse. The house was uninsured and the single-parent family is now ruined, facing losses of well over 60,000.

    Police and fire fighters estimate that the blaze started in the sitting room at around noon on Sunday.

    The mother was upstairs making the beds and her five-year-old son was alone in the front room.

    The Fire Brigade was only called at 12.30pm and the first fire engine was on the scene 18 minutes later, screeching its way 19 kilometres from Kofinou, through two villages to Psevdas.

    Some 12 fire fighters and four engines managed to extinguish the flames by 1.21pm, but it was too late to save the house.

    In less than 90 minutes, the house had been reduced to ash and rubble.

    " It's close to a miracle, bearing in mind the distance that the engine got there so quickly,"said Fire Brigade spokesman Chrysilios Chrysiliou.

    In their haste to evacuate the building, mother and child left windows and doors wide-open.

    The flames engulfed the home in minutes, aided by the wooden floorboards and panelling and the flammable soft furnishings, which unleashed toxic chemicals.

    Shutting doors to seal off the supply of oxygen and non-flammable soft furnishings would have minimised the damage, Chrysiliou said yesterday.

    And he warned people to make sure matches, cigarettes and lighters did not accidentally set fire to bedding, upholstery or carpets, pleading with parents to keep them well out of reach of children.

    Portable heaters, open fires, electric blankets and cooking accidents are also frequent sources of devastating fires.

    The Fire Department estimates there are around 200 chip pan fires every year, and that more than 50 per cent of fire victims are aged over 60.

    Short circuits can be prevented by not over-loading electric sockets. Trying to force too much electricity out of one power point causes the wires to heat up, which can cause near-by flammable substances to self- ignite.

    Similarly damaged or faulty wires and electrical appliances can shoot out sparks, which can set fire to neighbouring flammable objects, or self- ignite if there is a problem with the machine.

    Also on Sunday, two people were treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out on in a flat in Nicosia from a forgotten frying pan.

    The owner of the flat at Aspres refugee estate, Despo Neophytou passed out after inhaling smoke but was rescued by her neighbour Michalakis Georgiades who put out the fire.

    Georgiades, who suffered inhalation problems, was treated in hospital and discharged.

    The fire service said the blaze was caused by a frying pan left on the lit stove.

    Damage to the flat was estimated at 500.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Filipino faces deportation after complaint against police

    By Jean Christou

    A FILIPINO man who rushed to the aid of an acquaintance in a brawl last August found himself in the dock yesterday awaiting deportation after he complained that police had beaten him up following the incident.

    Lawyers for 44-year-old Angelito Juliano, who was released later yesterday, have now filed for damages against police, who allegedly tried to deport their client while an investigation by the Attorney-general's office against two police officers was pending.

    Lawyer Yiannakis Erotokritou told the Cyprus Mailyesterday he had filed for damages of between 5,000 and 10,000 on behalf of his client, who allegedly sustained injuries to his face following his arrest in August.

    Juliano, who was working in Cyprus for four years with a local company until his contract expired on September 26, was arrested again yesterday morning and held at Lycavitos police station for deportation after appearing at Nicosia district court. He was released later in the day after Erotokritou lodged objections with the Attorney-general's office.

    " The Attorney-general has appointed a criminal investigator because Juliano was beaten during his time in police custody,"Erotokritou said. " Police were trying to send him out of Cyprus because of the criminal investigation against them."

    Juliano was first arrested in August, accused of attacking an Egyptian man who was allegedly attacking an acquaintance of his, also a Filipino.

    According to Juliano's sister Veronica Shammas, the Egyptian and the Filipino, who knew each other, had become involved in a row on August 9, which she said turned nasty.

    " My brother saw that the other Filipino man couldn't breathe any more the way he was being held by the throat and he tried to push the Egyptian man away,"she said. " The Egyptian man was six foot five and my brother is five foot six."

    Shammas admitted that the Egyptian man was injured slightly in the fracas.

    " He turned his anger on my brother and accused him of trying to kill him. It wasn't true, but the police didn't believe my brother,"she said.

    She said Juliano was then arrested. He claimed he was taken inside a private room at the Paphos Gate police station and beaten by two officers.

    " His eyebrow was cut and he lost one tooth,"Shammas added.

    " The police don't like to be exposed so they filed a case against my brother over the fight and now they are trying to deport him."

    But she added that despite the charges being brought against her brother for his part in the fight, he had himself lodged an official complaint against the police before his work contract expired on September 26.

    " Because he is a foreigner, they don't want to be exposed if he testifies. The two that were fighting are friends now and my brother is the one that was put in jail,"Shammas said. " I told my brother he shouldn't have intervened."

    Erotokritou said the police later tried to withdraw the case against Juliano, allegedly to make it easier for them to deport him.

    " I believe myself that the police were accusing him wrongly and that it was a case of self-defence,"he said. " He was not the one who caused it. The other guy said he had a knife but they didn't find any knife."

    Erotokritou also accused the police of not giving the Attorney-general's office the full facts of the case. He said he called immigration himself and had Juliano released yesterday afternoon. The case against the Filipino man is due in court on December 6.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Makarios hospital treats 4,000 child heart patients a year

    By Alexia Saoulli

    ONE hundred children are born with heart-related diseases every year in Cyprus, paediatric cardiologist Dr Panayiotis Zarvos said yesterday.

    According to Zarvos, one child in every 100 will be born with a heart condition. With a yearly average of 10,000 births in Cyprus, 100 infants will suffer from heart-related problems.

    The doctor was unable to give an exact figure for the number of child heart patients in Cyprus, but said nearly 4,000 children, from newborns to the age of 14, visited the Makarios Hospital cardiology unit in Nicosia every year, making up about 30 per cent of Cyprus' heart patient population.

    " Some cases are more serious than others, although thankfully the mortality rate is very low in this day and age, as more and more children are operated on"said Zarvos.

    Of these 4,000 heart patients, 40 need to have open-heart surgery abroad, with a 98 per cent success rate.

    In Cyprus, the only child cardiovascular procedure that doctors perform is a valvotomy, which consists of opening narrow valves within an artery.

    " The heart disease frequency among children in Cyprus is not alarmingly high,"the doctor said.

    " It does appear to be slightly higher than expected, because Cypriots seem to be predisposed to birth related heart anomalies.

    " This is probably due to the fact that we live in a small society and the hereditary factor plays a more important role than it does in larger countries abroad, particularly within rural areas"Zarvos pointed out.

    Children are usually born with heart related problems rather than developing them a few years later, but symptoms may not always appear until adolescence or even adulthood and so the problem may remain undiagnosed for years.

    These heart conditions are caused by a number of possible factors on top of hereditary elements, such as mothers suffering from German measles during pregnancy, maternal alcoholism, maternal diabetes, or a parental genetic disposition to high cholesterol levels.

    " All these factors can directly affect the embryo and result in newborn heart conditions"he said, adding that women should be vaccinated against German measles, or treated for afflictions that might affect their unborn child while pregnant as preventive measures against childhood heart problems.

    This week has been dedicated to raising awareness of children with heart conditions.Under the slogan 'Don't Let Hope Disappear', the effort aims to raise money to help upgrade existing medical services and welfare conditions needed to care for these children.

    The Association of Parents and Friends of Child Heart Patients is hosting a series of functions for the week, sponsored by the Ministry of Health and the Cyprus Youth Organisation.

    Twenty-five lottery tickets at 1 each have been issued to all Co-operative companies, as well as to town and village authorities.

    The week ends on Saturday with a sponsored run from Limassol to Agros by the 'Pericles Demetriou' society.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] George best discharged, flying home today

    By Jennie Matthew

    GEORGE BEST is flying home today after a week in Cyprus, half of which was spent in a clinic receiving treatment for fever and a stomach virus.

    The soccer legend, dogged by alcoholism for 30 years, came down with a fever last Thursday, just two days after checking into the Amathus Beach Hotel in Limassol with his wife and manager.

    He was urgently admitted to a private clinic in the coastal town, on the advice of his London consultant Professor Roger Williams.

    Best was finally discharged yesterday, shortly before noon, despite hopes that he would be fit to return to his hotel at the weekend.

    " He had a temperature which kept him in one more day,"said his doctor Andreas Stylianides, recommended by Professor Williams.

    Both Stylianides and Best's manager Phil Hughes stressed that the footballer's illness had nothing to do with alcohol abuse.

    " George is suffering from a stomach complaint and that's all it is. It's nothing to do with his liver or alcohol. The doctors say it's a bug which could have been picked up from the air conditioning or from the aeroplane, "Hughes said on Friday.

    Stylianides confirmed that his patient's infection of the gastro-intestinal tract had " nothing to do with recent alcohol abuse" .

    " He responded very well to treatment,"Stylianides added.

    Nevertheless, any infection is considered dangerous for Best because his liver has been so damaged by decades of heavy drinking.

    The star is expected to consult his London doctor on his return to the UK.

    His four-days in the clinic were surrounded by media hype and speculation.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides visited him on Friday evening.

    Best, 55, and wife Alex, 29, were in Cyprus to promote the Lanitis-owned Aphrodite Hills golf course in Paphos.

    His illness did not prevent him from carrying out his commission and he is expected to be return to Cyprus next year, again on Lanitis' behalf.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Ecevit warns of 'genocide'

    By Jean Christou

    DEFENCE Minister Socrates Hasikos yesterday dismissed new Turkish threats to annex the north of the island as scare-mongering tactics aimed at blocking the island's accession to the EU.

    Speaking before his departure on an official trip to Moscow, Hasikos said that while such statements should not go unobserved, neither should they be unduly emphasised.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Sunday that Turkey would not give up its " just cause"in Cyprus while Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Cyprus was crucial to Turkey's national security and abandoning the Turkish Cypriot north of the divided island was tantamount to giving up Turkish territory.

    Ecevit said earlier this month that Turkey could annex the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) if the EU admitted Cyprus before a settlement was reached.

    "There's no difference between sacrificing the TRNC and sacrificing a piece of Turkey's soil," Ecevit said in an interview broadcast live on TRT television on Sunday. "The TRNC is not just vital to the security of Cyprus' Turks but for

    Turkey's security as well."

    Ecevit also warned that EU policy on Cyprus could plunge the island into ethnic violence.

    "If a solution (with) the Greek Cypriots' or the EU's demands is brought onto the agenda, to me it's inescapable the Turks there would face a new genocide," Reuters quoted Ecevit as saying.

    Hasikos said the time remaining until the signing of the accession treaty between

    the EU and Cyprus was "highly crucial" and said all issues relating to Cyprus'

    bid to join the EU should be faced calmly and seriously.

    "We should refrain from becoming a vehicle for such (Turkish) statements and thus serving the aims of the Turkish side, which wants to send the EU the message that Cyprus' accession should be blocked because of the political issue," he said.

    Cyprus' chief EU negotiator, former president George Vassiliou, also commented yesterday on the Turkish threats.

    He said Ecevit's statements showed weakness and that "someone who is self- confident and feels he is on the right track does not use such language in addressing the EU and its policies."

    Vassiliou left yesterday for Athens, where he is due to have talks with Greece's

    Alternate Foreign Minister Anastasios Yiannitsis on issues relating to Cyprus'

    bid to join the EU.

    Ecevit also said he was not "overly hopeful" the face-to-face talks between Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides on December 4 - their their first meeting in four years - would yield a settlement.

    "It's beneficial to be optimistic," he said. "I hope to see the sides come closer, but I'm not overly hopeful."

    Denktash, who arrived in Ankara on Sunday, said he would meet President Clerides in the presence of a senior UN envoy. "I want to meet Clerides to tell him he's on the wrong path," Denktash told reporters. "I want to find out what (Clerides) wants to do, and based on that, I will give a message to my people and a message to Turkey," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Terrorist money laundering in the north?

    THE NEW York trial of a suspected member of the al-Qaida terrorist network has revealed the scale of money laundering in the Turkish occupied north as well as its connections with the Islamic terror group led by Osama bin Laden.

    According to the Athens newspaper Ethnos tis Kyriakis,Jamal Ahmed al Fadel, a Sudanese man accused of having links with al-Qaida, has told US authorities that his group had all kinds of banking conveniences in northern Cyprus and alluded to financial transactions between banks in Sudan and the north. The money was then transferred to other countries, Fadel said.

    Ethnos said that in his statement, the suspect said that northern Cyprus was considered the best channel because: " the market there is absolutely free and anyone can deposit money wherever they want and then transfer them directly to European companies" .

    But the paper added that what really drew the attention of the American media, was al Fadel's revelation that al-Qaida was ready to spend around $1.5 million for the acquisition of nuclear components.

    The information was of particular interest to Russian authorities, who have repeatedly expressed concern over the financial transactions of Islamic and other militant groups in Russia and the Caucasus,

    According to figures issued by the Turkish Cypriot regime, there are 35 onshore banks - mostly Turkish - in the north, as well as 27 offshore banks.

    Investment interest into the north cannot be justified by its development track record or its growth rates, Ethnos pointed out.

    Despite this, its currency reserves have increased exponentially between 1990 and 1994 from $89.8 million to $283.2 million.

    On top of this, around 21 casinos operate in the north, which have aroused suspicion as potential money laundering establishments.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Minister wants coroner suspended

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday he would seek the suspension of state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous today following the results of a second post mortem on a man who died two weeks ago at the Nicosia General hospital

    Savvides told journalists a disciplinary investigation had also been launched and was deemed necessary because explanations given by Sophocleous yesterday at an investigating committee left several questions unanswered.

    The Minster said the investigation would establish whether the state pathologist was to blame for scientific errors, negligence or even ulterior motives, reports said last night.

    Results of histological (tissue) tests released on Friday seemed to confirm the 44-year old road accident victim's cause of death as pulmonary embolism, which contradicted the findings of the initial autopsy carried out by Sophocleous and observed by DIKO deputy and forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis.

    The initial autopsy carried found the cause of death to be pneumonia and organ failure resulting from aspiration of gastric content.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Police set July deadline for rear seat belts

    CAR OWNERS must ensure they have seat belts on rear seats by July 1, 2002, when police will start enforcing the law passed this summer making them compulsory.

    Following-up on a road safety campaign at the weekend, Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou said no cars without belts in the back would be imported as of January 1.

    " The campaign was successful and effective,"he told the Cyprus Mail . The Minister accompanied some 40 drivers who toured the island distributing leaflets, warning people about dangerous driving.

    Cyprus has the fourth highest death rate on the roads in Europe and eight out of 10 people killed in car accidents were not wearing belts.

    Fines for not wearing belts in the front is currently 50. The same penalty will apply to those in the back, adults or children, when the law is enforced next summer on all vehicles less than 3.5 tonnes.

    Neophytou said the grace period was only fair, in order to allow all cars time to equip themselves properly.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Armed man bursts into ministry

    AN ARMED man yesterday stormed into the Interior Ministry with a shotgun demanding help to solve his financial problems.

    It was the second time he had burst into the building in four months.

    Prokopis Christofi, who in July came with a knife and threatened to kill himself outside the Ministry unless he could meet Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, yesterday paid a return visit with a shotgun.

    Christodoulou told reporters that after making his demands, Christofi handed in his shotgun and turned himself over to police. He described Christofi's case as " tragic"and said that the man had serious financial problems and merely wanted to publicise his plight.

    The Minister said he had given instructions to find Christofi a job.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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