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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-01-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, January 1, 2002


  • [01] New year will be crucial for Cyprus
  • [02] Masked gunman makes off with 45,000
  • [03] Water rates rise 30 per cent in Nicosia
  • [04] Father of 10 sets himself on fire
  • [05] Market ends the year down

  • [01] New year will be crucial for Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    THE FACE-to-face negotiations on the Cyprus issue beginning on January 16 could lead to a solution of the island's political problem, President Glafcos Clerides said in his New Year's address yesterday.

    In his annual televised address to the nation last night, Clerides said the coming year was important for the future of Cyprus and would be marked by two great events: the island's accession to the EU and the beginning of new negotiations on the Cyprus problem, "which may well lead to a solution".

    "I refer simply to the possibility of a solution because obviously, no one is in a position to make an assessment as regards the result of the talks before they have evolved," Clerides said.

    "Every day, a great deal is written and said about these talks, which, however, has nothing to do with reality."

    The President said there were many international observers following the Cyprus problem and that the behaviour of the Greek Cypriot side would therefore have to be such as to "actually prove that we fervently desire the finding of a solution".

    "Our side will behave responsibly during the talks, keeping in mind the legitimate interests and concerns of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and having in mind that the new millennium which we have entered will be characterised by a more sincere and intense effort for the implementation of human rights throughout the planet."

    Clerides said he also wished to address himself to "our Turkish Cypriot compatriots" and assure them that the government was equally interested in their future.

    "At the threshold of a new year I wish them many years, progress and happiness," he said. "Above all I wish that the New Year will be the year of the peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem for the good of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins."

    The new talks on the Cyprus issue are due to begin on January 16 after a breakthrough meeting between the two leaders on December 4. The meeting was followed by a visit by Clerides to dine at Denktash's home in the north on December 5 and a reciprocal visit by Denktash to Clerides' home last Saturday night. Denktash later described his visit to Clerides as warm and friendly.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Masked gunman makes off with 45,000

    THE PAPHOS police director yesterday criticised the employees of a bank for doing nothing to prevent a masked man from robbing 45,000 through one of the building's back windows.

    It was shortly after 8am when the man, wearing a carnival mask and clad in camouflage, put his head and arm through the small window and demanded the money, threatening the three employees at gunpoint.

    The tellers of the Laiki branch on the corner of Charalambos Mouskos and Neophytos Nicolaides Avenues, just opposite the courthouse, obeyed the robber and stuffed around 45,000 into a plastic bag he had thrown on the floor.

    The two men and one woman gave the man the bag with the money and he fled on foot.

    Police said he spoke perfect Greek, was slim with short hair and around 1.75 metres tall.

    The district's Police Director Spyros Koniotis visited the scene and criticised the employees for handing over the money so easily, considering the way the man had operated.

    "He put his arm and head through the window and shouted 'robbery': he threw a plastic bag and told them to put in the money, which they did and then gave the bag to him," Koniotis said.

    "I have the strong conviction that if the employees had showed some action the thief would have been arrested and the robbery foiled," Koniotis said. A police patrol car was understood to be outside the branch during the robbery, but the employees only alerted police once everything was over.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Water rates rise 30 per cent in Nicosia

    By Melina Demetriou

    WATER rates in Nicosia are set to go up by 30 per cent from today.

    Larger families will be hardest hit as those consuming between 21 and 40 cubic metres per two months will now pay 50 per cent more than they did last year - 53 cents per cubic metre rather than 35.

    The first 10 cubic metres will now be charged at 35 cents a cubic metre, rising to 40 cents between 11 and 20 cubic metres. Until now, Nicosia residents were charged30 cents a cubic metre for the first 20 cubic metres consumed.

    Households consuming between 41 and 50 cubic metres per two months will now pay 85 cents per cubic metre instead of 70 (up 21 per cent).

    Rates will stand at 1,10 per cubic metre for between 51 and 60 cubic metres of water compared to 91 cents last year.

    The price increases will also affect hotels, clinics, schools, government and public offices and industries, which will be charged around 25 per cent more than they used to.

    The decision to increase water rates was taken by the Nicosia Water Board and approved by Parliament last month.

    Waterprices are expected to rise in other towns too, but there has not been an official announcement on the matter yet.

    The discrepancies in charges between towns is a long-standing and contentious issue.

    Residents in the Famagusta area get the first 15 cubic metres of water free and those in Limassol pay just 6 cents a cubic metre for the first 40 used.

    Not surprisingly, with the cheapest water in Cyprus, households in Ayia Napa and Paralimni in the

    Famagusta district have been fingered as those whose consumption has shot up the most since the end of water rationing a year ago.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Father of 10 sets himself on fire

    A HANDICAPPED 52-year-old father of 10 yesterday set himself on fire outside the Limassol District Administration in protest at the lack of help from the state.

    Moeses Christophi escaped with minor hand and face burns after two police officers put the fire out with an extinguisher.

    Christophi went to the district administration and handed in his voting card and other documents in protest.

    He complained he could not work because of serious health problems while he had to pay out 150 for medicine every month.

    Christophi, who suffers from a muscle disease, said the hospital could not supply him with the necessary drugs for free, and that he also owed 35, 000.

    The 52-year-old man doused himself and his pick up with petrol and set himself on fire with a lighter.

    Two police officers and members of the public scrambled to the scene and managed to put out the fire with an extinguisher.

    The man was rushed to hospital, where he was treated for minor burns to his face and hands.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Market ends the year down

    WEAKER investment and tourism stocks pulled the stock market 0.64 per cent lower on the last trading day of the year yesterday, bringing total losses for 2001 to 47.2 per cent.

    The benchmark index closed at 129.09 points, 0.83 points weaker than Friday with higher losses pared in the closing minutes of the session from buying in banking shares.

    Turnover slipped to 4.9 million on 14.1 million shares traded.

    Volatile tourism and investment shares, penny stocks on the market, lost 2.5 and 1.77 per cent respectively.

    Traders said the market would continue to be rangebound amid a lack of corporate news to stimulate movement.

    The bourse has performed poorly in the past year on a general lack of investor interest and an extension of the correction in 2000 following a rally the year before, said brokers.

    "Until now, trading on the Cyprus bourse has been in the most cases speculative, leading to significant rises and falls," said Citi Principal analyst Marios Mavrides. In its 1999 heyday, the all-share index hit a high of 881 points, bringing many to compare bourse investments with gambling.

    "I hope that with the new year investors can now tell the difference between what should be a short-term speculative investment to a long-term one," said Mavrides.

    Heavyweight banking shares lost 0.88 per cent, pulling the FTSE/CySE 20 index 0.44 per cent lower. Declining stocks narrowly beat advancing ones 69 to 67 with 14 issues unchanged on 150 traded. There were 3,489 deals.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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