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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-01-03

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, January 3, 2002


  • [01] Relatives briefed about talks on the missing
  • [02] Andreas and Nayia, the first babies of 2002
  • [03] Another man remanded in insurance scam case
  • [04] Appeal against 'baby sale' verdict thrown out
  • [05] Man, 60, killed in New Year's Day accident
  • [06] The 'European option' for a solution was first raised 30 years ago
  • [07] Three held in connection with co-op raid
  • [08] Union rejects police criticism over bank raid
  • [09] Zampelas takes over
  • [10] Communications regulator takes office
  • [11] Pensioner again remanded in meter tampering case
  • [12] Two remanded after Limassol kiosk robbery
  • [13] Euro mayhem? A quiet launch, on balance

  • [01] Relatives briefed about talks on the missing

    By George Psyllides

    THE government is staying tight-lipped about last Saturday's talks on the missing persons issue between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash during their dinner at Clerides' residence.

    Clerides yesterday briefed the missing persons' relatives but nothing was announced afterwards about the substance of the briefing.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said specific moves were expected on the issue in the next few days, but he refused to say anything about what was discussed on Saturday between the two men. "At present there is the resolve and desire to deal with the issue of missing persons in a way that we have not witnessed in the past," Papapetrou said. "I would like to hope that this time things will move forward."

    Papapetrou said these moves should be expected from both sides.

    He did not rule out a fresh meeting between Clerides and Denktash, adding that at this stage there was nothing planned he could announce.

    The Chairman of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons, Nicos Theodosiou, said the relatives were "cautiously optimistic" because of past experience.

    Speaking after an hour-long meeting with Clerides, Theodosiou said: "We may have some kind of development in the next few days.

    "We are pleased that the President stressed the need to investigate the whereabouts of those caught during the 1974 Turkish invasion and whose fates have not been established since," Theodosiou said.

    "This is the first time since the July 1997 agreement, which Denktash and the Turkish side have flouted, that there seem to be good intentions for developments on this humanitarian issue," he added. The July agreement held that Clerides and Denktash recognise the right of families whose missing relatives are proven to be dead to have their remains returned for proper burial.

    It also provides for the exchange of information on the location of graves and preparation leading to the return of remains of Greek and Turkish Cypriot missing.

    In a unilateral move in summer 1999, the government started a process of exhumation and identification through DNA testing of remains in two Nicosia cemeteries.

    The remains of more than 100 people have been identified so far, 26 of them people who had been declared missing.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Andreas and Nayia, the first babies of 2002

    THE FIRST baby of the New Year was delivered at just 00.01am in Larnaca, weighing 3 kilos - a second son for Petros and Maria Petrou.

    Born naturally without complications in a private clinic run by Dr Stelios Stylianou in Larnaca, both mother and baby are doing fine.

    Maria Petrou from Xylofagou told journalists that the new arrival named Andreas was the best possible present for the New Year.

    The first girl of 2002 arrived five minutes later at 00.06am to Androulla and Efxivios Stylianou from Larnaca.

    Born in the Ayios Rafael clinic, Panayiota (Nayia) weighs 2.85 kilos. She is the couple's first child.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Another man remanded in insurance scam case

    ANOTHER MAN was remanded for six days yesterday on suspicion of faking a road accident to claim compensation from seven insurance companies.

    Police believe that in one case, Ioannis Sophocleous from Oroklini, Limassol collected a cheque of 4,000 from one insurance company, while the owner of the garage, suspected of organising the scam received a 3,750 payout.

    The garage proprietor, Andreas Antoniou and his employee Michalis Tsakkas are also in custody. They face accusations of involvement in 20 faked car accidents in recent years. Police have already confiscated 19 cars, and they are looking for another 16.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Appeal against 'baby sale' verdict thrown out

    THE SUPREME court yesterday threw out an appeal against the 3,750 fine imposed on a doctor who made thousands of pounds out of the sale of children.

    Gynaecologist Giorgos Evripides had been found guilty of involvement in four illegal adoption cases on December 27. But finding the sentence to be too lenient, Attorney-general Alecos Markides filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, which was heard yesterday.

    But the court upheld the original judgment which took into account Evripides' clean record and the fact that the other doctor involved in the scandal had died. In one instance the 37-year-old doctor delivered a baby born to a Romanian woman and 'faked'a caesarean operation on a Greek woman to make her claims to natural motherhood seem more plausible. That baby was bought for 10,000.

    The court heard evidence that implicated Evripides in three other similar cases involving Romanian women. The doctor pocketed 16,750 as a result of the four cases.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Man, 60, killed in New Year's Day accident

    A 60-year-old Paphos man became the first traffic accident victim of the new year when he was hit by a car while trying to cross the road.

    Achilleas Charalambous from Nea Dhimata was killed at 11.30pm on Tuesday while trying to cross the Pomos to Polis Chrysochous road near his village.

    He was hit by a car driven by a 21-year-old man from Yiolou and was rushed to Polis hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

    The driver of the car was breathalysed by police but the reading was negative.

    Police said 97 people were killed last year in 91 fatal accidents and a further 1,016 people were seriously injured in around 800 accidents across the island.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] The 'European option' for a solution was first raised 30 years ago

    By Jennie Matthew

    SOLVING the Cyprus question in a European framework was first suggested 30 years ago, according to British documents made public for the first time on January 1.

    Secret government memos remain under wraps for 30 years according to British law, meaning that files closed in 1971 were opened for the first time on Tuesday.

    The idea that a permanent solution could be found to the political difficulties in Cyprus as part of the European community were mooted three years before the Turkish invasion.

    The British High Commissioner to Cyprus in 1971 made the suggestion in the face of deadlock in inter-communal negotiations and the trouble started by the return of General George Grivas from exile.

    The envoy, Robin Edmonds, was not an ardent admirer of Archbishop Makarios III, but despite his belief that his removal from power would not harm British influences, London continued to view the cleric as the best man for the presidency.

    But Edmonds' recommendation that the future of a stable Cyprus lay as part of the wider European community has since evolved into the primary objective of modern Greek Cypriot and international diplomacy.

    London, Washington, Athens, the European Union and the United Nations want to see a united island (bi-communal, bi-zonal) enter the European Union. Diplomats hope that Turkey's own European ambitions will persuade Ankara to finally sign a deal.

    In 1971, General Grivas started his campaign against the Makarios government and talks between the two communities hit deadlock - the Turks entrenched in their demands for a federal state and the Greeks for a unitary one.

    Edmonds' advice to the Foreign Office covered three options: to preserve the Cyprus Republic as an all-out priority, whether or not it cost Makarios the presidency; the second based on the maxim "if you can't beat them, co- operate with them"; and the third was for Britain to sit by and hope for the best.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Three held in connection with co-op raid

    THREE youths have been remanded in custody for two days in connection with the armed robbery of a co-op bank in Limassol last month.

    The robbers of the Ayios Athanassios branch fled with 7,000.

    Brothers Argyris and Matthew Symeos and Nicolas Pieris, all aged 20, deny any involvement in the robbery, police told the court.

    Police moved to arrest Argyris Symeos and Pieris after DNA tests on samples found on the getaway scooter allegedly matched theirs.

    Both men had been arrested in the past in the same case but were subsequently released after their eight-day remand was over pending scientific tests.

    Matthew Symeos was arrested after police say they found 1,600 in the house where he lives with his brother.

    Police are still searching for the weapon used in the robbery as well as for the rest of the money, the court heard.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Union rejects police criticism over bank raid

    By George Psyllides

    THE BANK Employees'Association (ETYK) yesterday rejected police criticism that the staff of a Paphos bank could have done more to stop an armed robber from getting away with 45,000 on New Year's Eve.

    The robber, wearing a carnival mask and clad in camouflage, raided the Laiki branch in the town centre shortly after 8am as the staff were getting ready for daily business.

    He put his head and arm through a 90 square centimetre window and demanded the money, threatening them with a revolver.

    The employees stuffed all the money in a plastic bag the robber had thrown on the floor, and handed it over.

    Paphos police chief Spyros Koniotis accused the staff of indifference, adding that with some action on their behalf the robbery could have been foiled and the man possibly arrested.

    But ETYK Chairman Loizos Hadjicostis rejected Koniotis' criticism and defended the staff. "Our colleagues acted in the right way, considering the psychological circumstances they were apparently in," Hadjicostis said.

    He said people react differently when they find themselves at gunpoint and suggested that no one knew how the robber would react if he felt threatened.

    "He could have been a junkie, bankrupt, or a seasoned criminal; who knows how he would react under pressure?" Hadjicostis said.

    But Koniotis was adamant yesterday: "I do not want to argue with the bank association but I still believe what I said."

    "If they had shown more calm the robbery could have been foiled or there would have been less profit for the robber," he said.

    Koniotis wondered if the staff would have reacted any differently if the money had been their own. He said the instructions given by banks and ETYK not to put anyone at risk were right, but that there were cases when something could have been done.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Zampelas takes over

    NEW Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zampelas yesterday took office, replacing Lellos Demetriades who ended a 30-year-old career in local government.

    In a ceremony at Nicosia Town Hall, Zampelas, who was elected two weeks ago, was presented with the chain of office and he promised to work together with residents for the good of the capital. Zampelas, former managing partner of Price Waterhouse Coopers, will serve a five-year term.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Communications regulator takes office

    THE CHIEF Regulator for Telecommunications and the Postal Service took office yesterday as the country's march towards liberalisation and membership of the European Union notches up a gear.

    Former Permanent Secretary of the Communications and Works Ministry Dr Vassos Pyrgos presented his credentials to President Glafcos Clerides yesterday morning.

    Also present were Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou and Under- secretary to the President, Pantelis Kouros.

    Thanking the President and the Council of Ministers for his appointment, Pyrgos said he was ready to start the task of organising an office and hiring and training staff so the work of the Commission can begin.

    "This is an important moment in the march towards liberalisation of the market and the abolition of state monopoly," Neophytou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Pensioner again remanded in meter tampering case

    A 71-year-old pensioner was yesterday remanded in custody for six days suspected of 'fixing' electricity meters to show lower readings and receiving thousands of pounds from the owners of businesses for his services.

    Michalis Masouras, a former electricity authority (EAC) technician, allegedly operated all over the island and made thousands of pounds in profit while at the same time caused the EAC to lose thousands in unpaid power bills.

    Masouras was detained after suspicious EAC technicians followed him and found that he had allegedly broken the seals of a meter of a consumer in Ayia Napa.

    He was allegedly turning meters back and then replacing the seals. Police are looking into how Masouras is thought to have got hold of the equipment to replace the seals.

    The court heard that Masouras is suspected of involvement in 31 cases of meter tampering in the Limassol district alone.

    Masouras kept a notebook containing the names and addresses of all his 'clients' around the island, police told the court, which heard that the suspect has admitted tampering with meters in other districts but has refused to do so in the case of Limassol.

    Meanwhile, the House Watchdog Committee yesterday decided to launch a probe into the case, following a proposal tabled by MPs Zacharias Koulias of DIKO, Giorgos Georgiou of DISY and Kikis Yiangou of AKEL.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Two remanded after Limassol kiosk robbery

    A 42-year-old man was remanded in custody for eight days yesterday in connection with an armed robbery at a Limassol kiosk on New Year's Eve. Euripidis Papachristou was arrested on Tuesday after he was named by 39- year-old Spyros Georgiades, who is currently in custody in the same case.

    Georgiades was arrested shortly after the robbery and was remanded for six days on Tuesday. The court heard the suspects went to the Dias kiosk on Ayias Fylaxeos Street at 9.10pm on New Year's Eve to buy cigarettes.

    Papachristou allegedly drew a knife and demanded money from the owner, who handed over 150 in cash.

    As the two men turned away the owner of the kiosk, Pampos Kountourzis, 50, pulled out a baseball bat and hit Papachristou twice.

    The suspects fled in a car which was parked outside the kiosk but Kountourzis noted down the licence plate details.

    Police arrested the car's owner, Georgiades, who they say has admitted being with Papachristou but has denied taking part in the robbery.

    Police told the court that Papachristou has already admitted to robbing the kiosk.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [13] Euro mayhem? A quiet launch, on balance

    By Alexia Saoulli

    CHAOS caused by an overload of euro transactions was not on the agenda yesterday, as local banks opened for the first time this year and started buying and selling the common currency.

    Although 12 EU countries awoke to a common currency on New Year's Day, and some banks abroad feared mayhem, Cyprus was not among them.

    Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Luxemburg, Holland, Portugal and Finland started circulating the euro just after midnight on December 31, dubbing January 1 'The Day of the Euro'.

    But even though the euro will not be used on a day-to-day basis on the island, Cypriots travelling to any one of the 12 countries were yesterday able to buy the new currency.

    They did not, however, crowd into local banks as they opened for the first time this year and demand an overload of euros.

    In fact, the Bank of Cyprus (BOC), Laiki Bank and Hellenic Bank need not have braced themselves for a day of confusion yesterday, because it turned out to be just another working day.

    "I don't see why things should not be running smoothly," said Agamemnon Loutsios of BOC, since "the euro is being treated like any other foreign currency". He pointed out that it was simply a matter of buying and selling, the way Drachmas, Marks and Francs were bought and sold. "Instead of the old currency, we now trade in euros."

    Besides not just anyone could go into a bank buy euros, he said, pointing out that only those people travelling abroad and had a ticket to prove it could do so.

    As for running out of the currency, he said that wouldn't be a problem, "since we can buy more and have them in the bank ready for trading within a day". Last week the Central Bank warned Cypriots travelling abroad to watch out for false euro banknotes, which are expected to start filtering through the market.

    According to Melina Tomazou at a Laiki Bank branch in Acropolis, it is still too early to worry about duds. "We have not yet bought euros from anyone, although we have been briefed on what to look out for, so are keeping our guard up," she said.

    A Hellenic Bank employee also confirmed the efficiency in euro transactions and said that although counterfeits were something to look out for, this was not yet an issue as it was still too soon to be buying. He also said that on top of cash, bank drafts would be issued in euros for the 12 EU countries.

    Transactions were also being carried out smoothly at the Makarios Avenue BOC branch in Nicosia, according to teller Alexia Kalavana.

    Cash was the primary source of exchange, she said. Although euro travellers' cheques are available none was bought, as they were not very popular.

    Kalavana said transactions were carried out efficiently, and tellers were not anxious about dealing with a new currency. As for hiccups, the only thing out of the ordinary was the odd curious customer just asking to have a look at the new notes, she said.

    Seven banknotes have been issued valued at five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros and eight coins valued at one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents and one and two euros, with 100 cents to one euro. As prices stand today, one euro equals 59 Cypriot cents.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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