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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-01-08

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

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


Tuesday, January 8, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Scabies outbreak at hospital
  • [02] Two hit-and-run drivers sought after man killed
  • [03] CY restores Athens link after weekend of misery
  • [04] Land value rockets: nothing to do with me, says Michaelides
  • [05] Riot: police study camera evidence
  • [06] Musician guilty of assaults on girls
  • [07] Investor apathy at CSE
  • [08] Taking the load off Willy
  • [09] 'Mud-slinging' deputy under fire
  • [10] Warming up, and filling up

  • [01] Scabies outbreak at hospital

    A SCABIES outbreak at Limassol General Hospital has affected 10 patients and 15 medical staff. Infected doctors and nurses have been given seven days' sick leave, while their colleagues have had preventative treatment in case they are carrying the mite which causes the irritant skin condition. The benign disease was brought into the hospital by a geriatric patient -- admitted to the pathology ward from a local old people's home - in December. On January 2, staff in the wing began to complain of an intense itch. Initially, their complaints were believed to be an allergic reaction to the pine trees used for decoration during the festive season. But when sores cropped up on patients and staff in the cardiology ward, a dermatology expert from Nicosia diagnosed scabies. Health Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday chaired a meeting to maximise the precautionary measures ordered at the weekend. Given that scabies has a two- to four-week incubation period, director of medical services Kosta Mallis expressed fear that the number of sufferers might rise. Savvides and Labour Minister Andreas Moushouttas yesterday agreed that Limassol's 50 homes for the elderly would all be screened. Any necessary medical care will be provided free of charge. Private doctors will inspect the town's two private establishments while Health Ministry officials will check the 48-state run homes. Shrugging off criticisms of delay, Mallis pointed to the initial uncertainty of diagnosis and said all necessary measures were being taken. Although highly infectious, scabies is not serious and is easily treated with body creams. The only mild complication occurs if excessive scratching opens wounds to infection. Regardless of personal hygiene, tiny mites, just visible to the naked eye burrow under the skin where they hatch their eggs. The make a beeline for warm nooks and crannies, such as between the fingers, on elbows, wrists and buttocks, around the belt line and close to the nipples and the penis. Mites jump from human to human through direct skin contact and from clothing and bedclothes. Medication is applied all over the body from the neck down, for between 12 and 24 hours at a time, then washed off.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Two hit-and-run drivers sought after man killed

    TWO more fatal road accidents over the weekend left a hit-and-run victim and an elderly Armenian dead. Just after midnight on Saturday, Dinos Constandinides, a 49-year-old Limassol Co-operative Bank employee, was crossing Christakis Kranou Street in Yermasoyia, Limassol, after leaving a football club function at a nearby hotel. Police reports said that while crossing the street, Constandinides was hit by a vehicle which drove on. As he struggled to his feet, a second car hit him, and the driver did not stop. Police said witnesses saw a Mitsubishi Pajero being driven off. A passer-by found Constandinides and called an ambulance. He was transferred to Limassol General Hospital with severe head injuries and internal bleeding, where he died at mid-day on Sunday. Police are looking for the drivers of both cars and have appealed for witnesses to come forward. On Saturday afternoon, a 71-year-old Armenian was killed in an accident in bad weather conditions on the Limassol-Nicosia highway. Police said that Vartan Tesounian's car broke down near Latsia. The 71-year-old got out and tried to flag down a car for assistance but, according to police, the driver of an oncoming car hit Tesounian. Visibility was hampered by torrential rain and thick clouds. Tesounian was taken to Nicosia General Hospital where he died just after midnight the same day. The 61-year-old driver of the car that hit Tesounian was questioned by police and passed a breathalyser test before being released. Police are still investigating the circumstances. This was the first fatal car accident this year in the Nicosia area. Last year, 20 people were killed in road accidents in the Nicosia area and in 36 people were killed in year 2000. On Sunday night, a 23-year-old British girl died after fighting for life since December 30. Caroline Melling had been hit while crossing the road in Yermasoyia, Limassol, last month and had been in a critical condition ever since. She was the third road victim to die in Limassol so far this year.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] CY restores Athens link after weekend of misery

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) yesterday resumed regular flights to Athens, ending a weekend of misery for over 3,000 passengers stranded both here and in Greece because of bad weather. Greece's new Spata Airport was closed over the weekend following heavy snowfall, which forced the airport to shut down, grounding dozens of flights. "We have additional flights today to serve all 3,000 passengers, half of whom are students who were stranded at Larnaca airport because bad weather prevented normal flight schedules to take place over the past two days," Cy spokesman Tassos Angelis told journalists yesterday. Angelis said a total of 13 flights would be operated yesterday and that one of the airline's aircraft stranded at Spata's Eleftherios Venizelos airport, near Athens, returned to Larnaca on Sunday night. He said CY flights to other destinations had not been affected by the bad weather and that the problem in Greece had not been the weather but the lack of a de-freezing aircraft system to serve all the planes on the ground. CY had to cancel three flights to Athens early on Sunday while two more of the national carrier's aircraft became stranded in Athens. Flights to Thessalonika were running smoothly on Sunday although there were some slight delays to Amsterdam because of thick fog there, and to Birmingham, UK, where the airport had also been closed due to bad weather. Angelis said CY was operating a special service for customers, which he said dealt with some 2,000 calls from passengers seeking information about their flights."We have exhausted all possibilities to serve our passengers but yesterday there was nothing more we could do. We are just asking for patience," Angelis said. Bad weather in Greece and in other parts of Europe has cost CY dearly over the past month. During the Christmas period alone the airline paid out thousands of pounds to put up 300 passengers in Thessalonika after they became stranded due to bad weather.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Land value rockets: nothing to do with me, says Michaelides

    By George Psyllides

    FORMER interior minister Dines Michaelides yesterday denied he had any involvement in the reassessment of town planning zones in the Paphos area which resulted in a five-fold increase of the value of a large plot of land belonging to one man. The affair came to light after a man complained to the auditor-general that his land in the village of Tremithousa had been left out of the reassessment around six years ago, despite bordering the land of another man which became a residential zone. The auditor-general who looked into the issue discovered irregularities and handed the case to the Interior Ministry for further investigation. The Permanent Secretary at the ministry, Kyriacos Triantafyllides, who undertook the investigation said yesterday that the testimonies he had gathered were not enough to resolve the case and suggested a fresh probe. But media reports said that, according to Triantafyllides' findings, two members of the town planning council had testified that they were pressured into relaxing the regulations in the specific area. The person who allegedly pressured the two council members was then interior minister Dinos Michaelides, but yesterday he said he did not know anything about the findings of the investigation. Michaelides said the reassessment took place five to six years ago, in line with routine re-evaluations arising from local authority needs or landowner requests. Michaelides said he had nothing to do with the decision to change the zone. "In the final stage of the reassessment the minister conveys the final suggestions of the responsible bodies to the cabinet; the minister is not involved in the procedure," Michaelides said. But on Sunday, DISY deputy and House Watchdog Committee Chairman Christos Pourgourides called for Michaelides to resign as a House deputy. Yesterday Michaelides, with a touch of sarcasm, said everyone was entitled to his opinion. "I know his interest and affection for me and my party and I believe Mr. Pourgourides can say whatever he wants, express opinions, accuse and condemn," Michaelides said. Tremithousa Muchtar Christophis Petrou, who was a local councillor at the time of the reassessment, said the council had no clue about the allegations. He said that the then muchtar had appointed someone else to represent the community in the project of re-adjusting zones and the council did not know about it. "We saw it on the map after it happened," Petrou said. Petrou said that the community now found it very hard to get any residential permits because the books showed that 54 per cent of the land previously marked, as forest land was now residential. But it belongs to one owner. The man owns 180 donums, which he has separated in 180 plots ready for development, Petrou said.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Riot: police study camera evidence

    POLICE were yesterday studying footage from close circuit cameras to identify fans who rioted after the end of a football game at Nicosia's GSP stadium. The trouble started after the final whistle of the league fixture between current champions Omonia of Nicosia and Larnaca's Alki. Some 700 Omonia fans, who saw their team thrashed 5-1 by underdogs Alki, tried to enter the changing room area to protest against their team's poor performance. The fans shouted slogans against Omonia players and pelted police with stones. Police fired teargas against the furious fans to prevent them from entering the changing rooms. The stones smashed the windows of several cars, including one belonging to police. Meanwhile a pack of 200 fans surrounded a police car in the parking lot. Some hooligans attacked the three officers inside and managed to steal a riot shield and a helmet. Three officers were slightly injured during the rioting; they were treated in hospital and released. The players of the two teams remained stranded at the stadium for over an hour. Yesterday, police were studying the footage from the stadium's cameras to identify the troublemakers. In Larnaca, visiting fans of APOEL Nicosia, who saw their team snatch a last- minute draw against AEK of Larnaca, broke 119 plastic seats worth 1,790 from the stands and hurled them onto the pitch.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Musician guilty of assaults on girls

    A NICOSIA musician was yesterday found guilty on five counts of sexually assaulting under-aged girls. Doros Georgiades, 52, was arrested in August last year after two women testified that he sexually assaulted them nine years ago when they were 12 and 13. The trial was held behind closed doors at the Nicosia Assizes court, which yesterday found Georgiades guilty of five of six charges concerning sexual assaults on minors. Reports said Georgiades cried when he heard the verdict, which could land him in jail for ten years. Georgiades will be sentenced tomorrow.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Investor apathy at CSE

    SHARE prices in Cyprus climbed 1.24 per cent yesterday but investor apathy was evident in the day's volume, which registered a low of only 2.3 million.

    Trading opened at around Friday's closing level of 131 points, climbing steadily to a close of 132.7 points. The blue chips FTSE/CySE index fared slightly better, recording gains of 1.36 per cent to 533 points.

    Most sectors ended in the black with the highest gains being recorded among financial services companies, which clocked up 2.2 per cent compared to losses of 1.15 per cent for fish culture companies, one of only two sectors to end in the red yesterday.

    There were 54 gainers compared to 32 decliners while 51 titles remained the same.

    Reports yesterday said that most analysts believe the first six months of this year will be slow but expected the index to pick up in the second half of the year.

    "A week into the New Year and so far all we can be sure of is the extent of current investor apathy," said one broker. "At the moment the market is in a precarious situation and could go either way unless we see some encouraging signs of trust from the investing public."

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Taking the load off Willy

    By Jean Christou SALVAGE work has begun on the stranded Cypriot tanker Willy off the coast of Cornwall but the job is expected to take several days, reports from the UK said yesterday. According to the UK coastguard at Brixham, Devon, the salvage team is working on a plan to remove the bunkers and lighten the vessel. A crack in the vessel's hull will also be patched, according to the reports, while equipment has been transferred onto the vessel in preparation for refloating. However, the operation has begun amid concerns that the tanker remains a threat to the ecology of an internationally important conservation area. A team from United Salvage Ltd. boarded the vessel from a tug in Cawsand Bay on Saturday morning but the salvage operation is expected to take several days. The salvage team is also checking that the 80 tonnes of fuel still on the Willy is safely stored before pumping it off. Divers will also inspect underwater damage before repairs are made, after which refloating operations are expected to proceed. Experts say the risk of explosion is now minimal and the exclusion zone around the vessel has been reduced to 150 metres. Although the Willy's cargo of petrol had initially been offloaded at Plymouth, her vapour-filled holds sparked explosion fears, which prompted the evacuation of 150 residents from the nearby village of Cawsand. The vessel had been carrying 93 tonnes of intermediate fuel oil, 41 tonnes of gas oil and five tones of lubricating oil when she was grounded. The vessel's 12-strong crew was also safely evacuated. The Merchant Shipping Department (MSD) last week sent two UK-based ship inspectors to the scene of the stranded tanker, which the department said was in excellent condition and had simply been a victim of bad weather.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] 'Mud-slinging' deputy under fire

    THE GOVERNMENT Spokesman yesterday rejected AKEL Deputy Kikis Yiangou's allegations about the involvement of a former minister in the notorious case of altering the readings of electricity meters in order to save thousands of pounds in bills. Only one person has been arrested so far in connection with the case. Seventy-one-year-old Michalis Masouras was arrested in December for allegedly altering the readings of electricity meters across the island and depriving the Electricity Authority (EAC) of thousands of pounds in bills. Masouras allegedly altered the readings on order from people who paid for his services. The case took a political turn after opposition allegations that the government sought to put a lid on the case because of the involvement of prominent citizens and that of former minister. Reacting to this, the government issued a list of 56 people and businesses under investigation. The names were said to have been found in the suspect's notebook. The list featured several well-known businessmen and companies, some of whom issued statements denying they had anything to do with meter tampering. Yiangou insisted that there is a former minister involved but refused to name him despite government pleas. Yesterday Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou slammed Yiangou's behaviour as being ethically unacceptable and politically immoral. "I don't know whether Mr. Yiangou grasps the scale of the charges and abuse he has uttered, but since he insists I'm obliged to reply," Papapetrou said. He said he had contacted police, the EAC and other government services and no one knew anything about any former minister being involved in the case. Papapetrou said he could not understand Yiangou's logic of knowing and not telling until he decided it was the right time. "Doesn't this deputy understand that his behaviour is ethically unacceptable and politically immoral because he slanders, abuses, and slings mud against specific people he accuses of covering a crime, thus committing felony," Papapetrou said. Papapetrou wondered if AKEL, Yiangou's party, approved or tolerated his behaviour and said he hoped the reply would be negative. The chairman of AKEL, Demetris Christofias, insisted that the issue should not be reduced to a spat between the government and a deputy but should be treated on its essence. Christofias said the government should be stricter and go all the way towards resolving the case.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Warming up, and filling up _Big freeze should ease, while dams have 20 per cent more water than last year

    _

    THE BIG freeze in Cyprus should ease this week, director of weather services Kyriakos Theophilou said yesterday.

    The New Year brought with it unusually low temperatures, as barometers dropped to as low as 4 degrees Celsius on the central plain, compared to a 15.5 degree early January average.

    Half a metre of snow fell in Troodos village. Mountain roads were closed on Friday morning, leaving would-be snow tourists from Nicosia stuck in Kakopetria.

    The foothills up to 100 metres were coated and even the higher ground around Paphos was treated to a rare sighting of snowflakes - a phenomenon that has happened only a handful of times in the last 20 years.

    Temperatures have hovered around the 12 degree mark in the last few days on the coast - well short of the 16.5 January norm. Nicosia and the central plains were battered with heavy rain on Friday and Saturday.

    Director of the Water Development Department Christodoulos Artemis said yesterday that the nation's dams were 30.4 per cent full - compared to just 11.3 per cent on January 7, 2001.

    Dam water reserves all over the island yesterday tallied 83.25 million cubic metres, after torrential downpours in December 2001 - the eight wettest month on record since 1916.

    "The rain and snow is due to the low pressure system over the Turkish coast, which is moving east. It will arrive in east Cyprus by the end of Monday, so probably future rain and snow showers will be very limited," said Theophilou.

    Today is expected to be a little warmer, while cloud, local showers and thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow. Snow will fall once again in the mountains.

    Another low-pressure system is expected to push in on Thursday, as temperatures thaw slightly to reach about 13 degrees in the capital.

    Taking the load off Willy

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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