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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-11-29

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, November 29, 2001


  • [01] Scientist says he has the device to scare dolphins away from fishing nets
  • [02] 'We don't have to import GM products'
  • [03] Proper exercise could slash heart disease deaths by 70 per cent
  • [04] Asylum seekers disappear from the bases
  • [05] A weekend trip to the museum? Not in Larnaca
  • [06] Lawyer beaten up by intruder

  • [01] Scientist says he has the device to scare dolphins away from fishing nets

    By M elina Demetriou

    CYPRUS University Professor Costas Christofides knows how to drive dolphins away from fishing nets.

    The answer does not lie in culling, as fishermen have often demanded, but in using high frequency microwaves, he told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.

    Christofides wants to present a revolutionary method already applied in Japan to the Fisheries' Department, but needs foreign experts' support.

    The professor, a physics expert, said that seven years ago his team had created a device for the Department that had never been used. The appliance was created to solve the longstanding problems of fishermen who complain that dolphins destroy their fishing nets.

    " This system was used by the Russians during Word War I. A kind of device is attached to nets and transmits high frequency microwaves that disturb dolphins and drive them away,"Christofides explained.

    The academic added that the Fisheries' Department had never used the appliance his team made because of a government policy which prohibited its use.

    Christofides revealed that his team had recently created a new device, which also transmits microwaves to chase dolphins away.

    This is the kind the Japanese are using and it works with laser,"he said.

    Christofides will try to launch the method in Cyprus next year, provided he has professional support from abroad.

    " We might present this equipment to the Fisheries' Department in February, but to do this we need foreign experts to back the effort,"he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] 'We don't have to import GM products'

    By Alexia Saoulli

    A EUROPEAN Union directive that would mean Cyprus will have to allow the cultivation and importation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) when it joins the EU is causing concern among environmental campaigners, who fear Cyprus is not ready to control the possible consequences of releasing such organisms.

    Biologist-Environmentalist Melina Menelaou of the National Federation of Environmental Associations warned this week that importing GM food, animal feed, micro-organisms and seeds would be opening a Pandora's box in term of health and environmental consequences. Earlier this year, Green Party deputy George Perdikis claimed before the House Environment Committee that the consumption of GM foods had cost lives in Europe. Perdikis opposes any move to legalise the growth of GM foods in Cyprus, saying "public health is more important than EU harmonisation".

    Yesterday, Loucas Psillakis, an administrative officer at the Cyprus Conservation Foundation, advised Cyprus to adopt the EU's 'precautionary principle', which suggests prudence in situations where risks are uncertain.

    The principle can be applied to anything from nuclear safety to GMOs, if a country fears damage to human health or the environment.

    Psillakis said Greece, Italy and France, for example, had adopted a moratorium saying they would not accept any new GMOs into their countries.

    " The EU has a directive on GMOs but it's up to each country to actually, if they wish, go a step further and strengthen the law and make their legislation more strict, as Greece has done, and as we suggest Cyprus should do."

    Psillakis outlined the possible dangers of GMOs: " There are several concerns with GMOs, not least because there are many uncertainties in the field of genetics, and in particular concerning the precise effect of the introduced DNA or genetic material."

    He added the danger often lay in cross-contamination of crops or natural habitats from GM cultivations.

    " In other words if you're planting genetically modified soya next to a field of non-genetically modified soya you may end up contaminating your proper soya."

    As a small island, Cyprus could suffer devastating effects from such genetic pollution.

    Genetic modification is carried out by splicing DNA from one organism into another in order to introduce an absent characteristic into the second organism.

    " In other words, if, hypothetically speaking, we want to increase the protein content in tomatoes we would isolate the genetic material that codes for a high protein content in another organism e.g. means or beef, and splice that into the DNA, genetic code, of the tomato,"Psillakis said.

    He named soya beans as an example of GM food commonly modified to be more weather-resistant, herbicide-resistant or even disease-resistant.

    He said soya was " actually present in pretty much everything we eat, even though we may not know it: from our tinned ravioli to cat and dog food" .

    But he added that, because of the unpredictability of the science, it was possible to end up creating products with unknown side-effects.

    " We're talking about an area where there's a lot of uncertainty and are dealing with things that we're not sure how they work."

    For Cyprus, there was little point in taking the risk he said: " Genetically modified crops are probably not the way to go anyway, whatever their benefits, since many nations now would not allow us to export such produce to them and many consumers are afraid of foods containing GMOs."

    " Of the European nations, the UK is the only one that is going with GMOs without taking any precautions,"he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Proper exercise could slash heart disease deaths by 70 per cent

    CYPRIOTS are being urged to do more physical exercise to offset heart disease - the primary cause of death on the island.

    Addressing a seminar on 'Exercise and the Heart' yesterday, Symeon Matsis, the permanent secretary at the Health Ministry, said a large percentage of heart ailments could be avoided through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, which he defined as stopping smoking, eating healthily, cutting down on alcohol, getting rid of stress and exercising daily.

    In many developed countries, such lifestyle measures have achieved a reduction in the number of deaths caused by heart disease of up to 70 per cent, Matsis said, adding: " It is obvious that every citizen bears a large responsibility for their health, which is determined by the way of life each one chooses to lead."

    It was better to " adopt the correct way of life at a young age"said Matsis, explaining it was very difficult for people to change habits of a lifetime.

    The seminar was one of the events organised as part of the Week for the Prevention of Heart Disease, being held for its seventh successive year.

    On Tuesday, Dr Nicos Angelides, the head of the Heart Clinic at the Nicosia General Hospital, said that two per cent of each day -- equivalent to 30 minutes -- should be devoted to physical exercise. In Europe, people devoted one per cent of their day to physical exercise, while in Cyprus it was less than 0.5 per cent, he said.

    Failure to exercise, said Angelides, increased the frequency of heart failure by five times and strokes by three times. Physical exercise, on the other hand, reduced arterial pressure, and increased the level of good cholesterol, as well as decreasing body fat.

    Matsis said that 70 per cent of the benefits to health from exercising could be achieved by walking between 20 and 60 minutes each day. Apart from walking, he also recommended cycling, jogging and swimming.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Asylum seekers disappear from the bases

    By Rita Kyriakides

    IRAQI asylum seekers who have been causing unrest over the past few days have disappeared from the British Base of Dhekelia where they are housed.

    On Monday, a group of illegal immigrants caused havoc by setting fire to two buildings, throwing equipment into the road and cutting down several trees, before being escorted back to their accommodation by bases police.

    On Tuesday, the same group of immigrants torched and gutted a building in Richmond village.

    Two representatives of the disgruntled asylum seekers met with senior SBA police in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues late on Tuesday.

    " The people that were causing the trouble went off in a minibus at around 10pm after the meeting. We think they disappeared into Limassol or Paphos, "bases spokesman Rob Need told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.

    According to Need, the bases " have frequent dialogue with the Cypriot police on this and other matters" .

    He said the troublemakers were residents of the Richmond Village on the Dhekelia base and that the immigrants could not be stopped from leaving the bases, as there were no borders, only boundaries.

    " They will most likely be back round about the time they get paid,"he said, referring to their monthly welfare payments.

    The asylum seekers are demanding that they be allowed to travel and live and work in the UK.

    The bases have been holding more than 100 Iraqi and Iraqi Kurd migrants for more than a year. Some have already been granted refugee status, but others still have their applications pending and one group has been turned down.

    Many of the migrants arrived on the bases on fishing boats from Lebanon or Syria.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] A weekend trip to the museum? Not in Larnaca

    By Rita Kyriakides

    THE LARNACA District Archaeological Museum admitted yesterday it was having to remain closed at weekends for lack of visitors.

    The Museum displays a collection of finds from the Larnaca area, dating from the Neolithic Age to the Roman period. But it is only open from Monday to Friday from 9am until 2.30pm as well as Thursday afternoons from 3-5pm.

    A source at the Museum said it had always been closed at weekends, but in the face of complaints, the government had decided to open in the afternoons and on weekends for a trial period.

    " For an eight-month period, the Archaeological Museum was open in the afternoons and on weekends. However, the government decided it was not worthwhile,"the source said.

    It was decided there were not enough visitors to the Museum to justify the extra hours or the hiring of more employees.

    " The government decides on these matters. We are just the employees and we do as we are told,"said the source.

    In contrast the privately-owned nbsp;Pierides Foundation Museum in Larnaca is open seven days a week, with afternoon opening in the summer.

    An employee at the Pierides Museum said they were busy during the summer months, whether during the week or weekends.

    " We have many groups of tourists coming to the museum during summer, on all days of the week,"she said.

    The Pierides Museum houses ancient, mediaeval, Byzantine and more recent objects belonging to the Pierides family, as well as modern Greek and Cypriot sculptures.

    The only other District Museum that remains closed in Cyprus is again Larnaca, the District Mediaeval Museum, at Larnaca fort. It has never been open at weekends.

    The majority of other museums across Cyprus are open every afternoon and for at least six days a week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Lawyer beaten up by intruder

    POLICE were yesterday looking for a man who walked into the office of Limassol lawyer Elias Elia on Tuesday and beat him up for no apparent reason.

    Elia was admitted to Limassol Hospital after the incident and was yesterday still being treated with a broken nose and head injuries. He was was out of danger.

    The lawyer, aged 40, reported to police that a man in his 30s had entered his office on Tuesday at about 6.15pm and asked him if his name was Elias Elia. When he replied 'yes', the man beat him repeatedly on the head and torso, broke a window and a PC monitor, walked out of the office and disappeared in a car, Elia said.

    The lawyer said he had never seen the man before and had no idea why he had attacked him.

    Employees working at Elia's firm got the numbers of the assailant's car and informed the police.

    Police said they believed the suspect was 37 years old around 1.80 metres tall.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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