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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-01-18

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

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


Friday, January 18, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] London for 149, Athens for 79: CY announces discount fares
  • [02] 42 per cent think Cyprus problem will be solved
  • [03] News in Brief
  • [04] Council of Europe slams Cyprus over slaughter of birds
  • [05] Armed robber steals 10,000 from Limassol bank
  • [06] Doctor warns of looming flu epidemic
  • [07] Teachers to strike over suspension dispute
  • [08] Anti-smoking bill put to Parliament
  • [09] Water bottlers to face new EU guidelines
  • [10] British troops in Akrotiri oil spill clean-up
  • [11] 420,000 partridges shot last year

  • [01] London for 149, Athens for 79: CY announces discount fares

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) will fly to Athens for 79 return and to London for just 149, the company's chairman announced yesterday.

    CY unveiled the new discount fares, which also include Budapest and Warsaw, at a news conference in Nicosia

    Chairman Haris Loizides said that until March 30, morning and evening flight to Athens would cost only 79 return. Prices for the other two of the four daily flights would not change, he said. Previously the cheapest fare on offer to Athens was 139.

    Tickets to London until March 17 will cost only 149 for the morning flight and 99 for accompanying spouses and children under 12, while afternoon flight will cost 179. The cheapest fare to London before the new offers was 193. Return flights to Budapest and Warsaw are being reduced to 79.

    CY's 75,000 frequent fliers will also benefit from the new offers. The airline is offering 50 per cent more points on the Athens, Salonica and Heathrow routes between January 20 and March 14, and is doubling points for all other routes.

    The company is also reducing by 25 per cent the number of points needed to qualify to win a free ticket on the same three routes, and by 50 per cent on all other routes.

    Loizides said there was nothing unusual about the discounts. "During some periods we give and some we don't," he said.

    However, he admitted that the crisis in the airline industry since the September 11 terrorist attack on the US had affected capacity, especially to Athens and London.

    Loizides said he expected passenger figures for 2001 would be around the same level as those for 2000, though he did not have exact figures yet.

    He said that, according to an international survey on the industry, most airlines had seen a drop of 15-20 per cent in passenger numbers, but that CY had only lost around five per cent. The status of the tourism industry this year would also affect the airline if the expected 15-20 per cent fall in visitors were confirmed, Loizides said.

    Commenting on problems the airline had experienced over Christmas and the New Year due to bad weather in Europe, and especially in Greece, Loizides said the national carrier had done its best to bring home stranded passengers, despite public criticism, particularly from the parents of students studying in Greece. He said CY operated 13 flights to Athens in one day, plus two to London and four to Salonica to bring back stranded passengers.

    The chairman also quoted from another international survey, which placed CY amongst the top 20 most punctual airlines. Loizides said that in the airline industry, a plane leaving within 20 minutes of its scheduled departure time was not considered delayed.

    "We are one of the best companies in this respect and we do whatever we can, " he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] 42 per cent think Cyprus problem will be solved

    AROUND four in 10 Cypriots believe the Cyprus problem will be solved, according to a survey conducted by Antenna television.

    The survey, which was carried out between January 10 and 14, was nationwide and questioned a sample of 600 people between the ages of 18 and over.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides and DIKO Chairman Tasos Papadopoulos were the favourites to replace President Glafcos Clerides when his term expires in 2003, while seven out of 10 disagreed with suggestions that Clerides should extend his term if there are serious developments concerning the Cyprus issue.

    Just over four out of 10 Cypriots - 42 per cent - believe that the Cyprus issue will be settled, while 48 per cent think monetary transactions will now be easier in Europe with the introduction of the euro.

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou received top marks - 7.81 -- on a scale of one to 10 in ministerial popularity ratings, followed closely by Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou with 7.57.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis, who in [previous polls was favourite minister, came in third with 7.40.

    In fourth place was Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, while Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous came in last with 5.71.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] News in Brief

    Nicosia road death

    A 53-YEAR-OLD man was killed yesterday after his car veered off course on the Nicosia to Kokkinotrimithia motorway and smashed into an embankment.

    Police said Ioannis Gavril from Mammari was killed at 2.45pm after he apparently lost control of his car, sped into a ditch and smashed head-on into a low embankment.

    Police have appealed to anyone who knows anything about the circumstances of the accident to contact their nearest police station.

    Jewel theft in Paphos

    A KNIFE-wielding youth robbed a jewellery shop yesterday and fled with thousands of pounds worth of valuables, Paphos police said.

    Police said the robber entered the Ayios Rafael jewellery shop on Nikodimos Mylonas Street at around 5.15pm.

    He held the sole employee, Chryso Papalla at knifepoint and led her to a back room where he gagged and bound her.

    The robber then grabbed an unknown number of valuables, stashed them in a plastic bag and fled the scene on foot.

    Papalla managed to free herself a few minutes later and notified the police.

    The exact value of the stolen goods was not determined but they are believed to have been worth many thousands of pounds.

    The man was described as young, probably in his twenties, 1.55 metres tall, of slim build with short black hair.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Council of Europe slams Cyprus over slaughter of birds

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE COUNCIL of Europe has warned the government it will open a file on Cyprus if it does not make considerable improvements in protecting migratory birds from slaughter within the year, the Cyprus Conservation Foundation said yesterday.

    The Standing Committee of the Berne Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats, held in Strasburg last month, upheld other European nations' concern over Cyprus' mass slaughter of migratory birds, which are all strictly protected under the provisions of the Convention.

    The birds are served up as ambellopoulia - a high-priced delicacy on the island and sold in tavernas for about 1.50 each - with most aficionados eating through a dozen or more.

    Although the serving of these birds is illegal, the law is not observed, the Cyprus Conservation Foundation said yesterday.

    Last month, Cyprus was twice called by the Bern Convention committee to answer the allegations, facing a barrage of criticism.

    The government was accused of failing to protect the Akamas peninsula, and tolerating the slaughter of millions of migratory birds that either spend the winter or stop over on the island.

    Birdlife International lodged the complaint about the birds, following an international outcry against the brutal and illegal methods used to capture migratory birds.

    All committee members were given a detailed and graphic report on the extermination of the birds, and the destruction of flora on the island.

    Convention members called for steps to be taken to protect these birds, some of which are on the verge of extinction. A number of European countries claim these birds as part of their natural heritage, saying they are listed on endangered species lists.

    The convention heard that these birds migrate to milder climates, where they end up being exterminated for profit. As a result, they do not return home to breed and their numbers dwindle.

    Cyprus has repeatedly flouted a 1986 Berne Convention recommendation to protect these migratory birds, and instead continues to wipe them out year after year, the Council of Europe says.

    In light of this, the Council of Europe strictly recommended that Cyprus and the British Bases promptly take the necessary measures to ensure the special protection of wild fauna species - particularly "prohibiting all forms of deliberate capture and keeping, deliberate killing, as well as the possession and internal trade in these animals, alive or dead".

    It strongly suggested that those found to breaking this law should be held accountable and prosecuted, so as to dissuade others from doing the same.

    Penalties for these offences should also be increased, and more wardens should patrol popular bird trapping areas, making the activity harder.

    The recommendation added that officials should regularly frequent restaurants known to specialise in ambellopoulia, and to bring charges against those found guilty of the crime.

    If the Cyprus Government does not take steps to improve the situation within the year, a file will be opened against the Republic, the standing committee of the convention warned.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Armed robber steals 10,000 from Limassol bank

    AN ARMED robber sped away from a bank in the tourist district of Limassol yesterday clutching around 10,000, as police launched an extensive manhunt for the suspect.

    The hooded man marched in to a Bank of Cyprus branch in Ayios Tychonas at midday, brandishing a sawn off shotgun in one hand and a kalashnikov in the other.

    Speaking Greek, he demanded that the cashier hand over the money as four terrified customers cowered in the corner.

    A stash of around 10,000 was handed over and the suspect fled from the scene in a grey car, parked outside the bank.

    The vehicle was found shortly afterwards, abandoned in the same neighbourhood as the bank.

    What police believe was a second getaway car was found ditched near the Yermasoyia roundabout.

    Police patrol cars and a helicopter scoured the Yermasoyia valley, where the suspect is believed to have headed in a third car.

    The theft occurred the day after the Bank Worker's Union (ETYK) called for tighter security measures in the wake of 11 robberies last year, six of which are still unsolved and six of which occurred in Limassol.

    There were seven robberies in the last six months of last year, three in December alone.

    Bank workers want guards and special entry systems with inbuilt metal detectors so admission could be refused to anyone looking suspicious.

    They are also demanding better surveillance systems and bullet-proof partitions, which would eliminate physical contact with bank tellers.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Doctor warns of looming flu epidemic

    By Melina Demetriou

    A FLU epidemic which has affected more than half a million people in Italy could hit Cyprus in two to three weeks' time, state epidemiologist Michalis Voniatis warned yesterday.

    About 600,000 Italians are currently suffering from the Asian flu, while three million more are expected to be contaminated, the state doctor said, talking to reporters at the House, where he had been testifying before the Health Committee on an unrelated issue.

    "The flu epidemic could well hit Cyprus because of frequent flights to and from Rome. I don't expect something like this to happen right now, it would take two or three weeks to spread," Voniatis said, noting that the flu in question was "the usual one".

    "We cannot predict what dimensions such an epidemic would take in Cyprus, but I know it spreads very easily," he added.

    Voniatis advised vulnerable groups such as hearts patients, diabetics, people with respiratory and kidney problems as well as the elderly to be vaccinated against the disease.

    He also advised of ways of limiting the danger of infection.

    "A good diet, warm clothes and avoiding smoking and crowded places could reduce the danger," Voniatis said.

    "Hospitals must be prepared to deal with a possible outbreak here," he insisted.

    Meanwhile, Green party deputy George Perdikis lashed out against House Health Committee chairman Antonis Karas of DISY for not allowing him to raise the issue during a meeting yesterday. He also accused the government health services of omitting to take measures to prevent the flu from spreading to Cyprus.

    "They are careless and we will complain officially and in public," he threatened.

    Karas hit back, saying that Perdikis was an inexperienced deputy and therefore did not know that issues had to be on the Committee's agenda for discussion - otherwise they could not be addressed.

    He also argued that the Health Ministry was already taking preventive measures against a possible flu epidemic.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Teachers to strike over suspension dispute

    By Rita Kyriakides

    TEACHERS at the Ayios Stylianos Gymnasium in Nicosia plan to strike on Monday in protest at the Education Ministry's handling of a dispute involving a suspended student.

    Takis Gavrielides, President of the teachers' union OELMEK, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that a routine situation, which he admitted was difficult, had been blown out of proportion.

    "Everything was done legally, but the Ministry of Education and the Parents Association handled the situation badly. When it become more public, it created confusion, which has caused a situation which made the teachers look bad," he said.

    Gavrielides said the teachers planned to strike for one hour on Monday.

    The dispute began when teachers refused to teach a second year class when a suspended student suspected of stealing turned up for school.

    The 14-year-old girl had been suspended for two weeks for allegedly stealing money from her fellow classmates and for bad behaviour.

    The President of the National Secondary Parents' Association Elias Demetriou condemned the teachers last week, calling their behaviour unacceptable and incomprehensible.

    He also said the Ministry of Education had appointed an official to investigate the matter, and that the members of the teachers' association within the school had no right to act in the way they did without first receiving the go-ahead from the Ministry.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Anti-smoking bill put to Parliament

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday tabled before parliament a bill that would ban smoking in government offices, banks and at the wheel and cost offenders a fine of up to 1,000.

    The proposal was presented to the House Health Committee, accompanied by a stark warning drawn from World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, which show that half the smokers in Cyprus will die of a smoking-related disease.

    The Health Ministry said its aim was to strengthen current legislation forbidding smoking in public places and increase the fine for breaking the law.

    "The current law is not working and we want to give it a shot in the arm by introducing stricter regulations," ministry representative Marina Constantinou told the Committee.

    "The bill specifies that smoking is banned in government offices and departments which serve the public like banks. It also forbids smoking while driving," she said.

    The Health Ministry first announced its intentions a couple of months ago, sparking a furious reaction from smoking deputies who branded it as undemocratic.

    The new bill also suggests that entertainment venues such as restaurants, pubs and discos, as well as workplaces, should all have dedicated smoking areas.

    "We also want cigarette advertisements to feature nothing else than the packet and the brand of cigarettes, with a warning that smoking is dangerous to health and a cause of cancer," Constantinou noted.

    The ministry official cited stark statistics issued by the WHO, according to which half of the 180.000 smokers living in Cyprus would die from smoking related diseases.

    "And half of those, about 45,000, are expected to die between the ages of 45 and 47," she added.

    Anti-Smoking Movement chairman Stavros Martoudis, who was present at the meeting, hailed the ministry's proposal.

    But AKEL deputy Doros Christodoulides complained that smokers had not been given the opportunity to express their views at the meeting.

    "I don't know of any smokers' associations. Is there anyone who would like to speak on their behalf?" asked Committee Chairman Antonis Karas of DISY.

    Although a gaggle of deputies took a smoking break just before the discussion began, none of them felt like starting a debate.

    Karas suggested that the Committee reconvene on the matter in a fortnight to discuss the issue with representatives of the smoking camp.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Water bottlers to face new EU guidelines

    CYPRUS has to comply with new European Union regulations over bottled water by April 6, the government health services said yesterday.

    The island's eight bottled water companies will be forced to implement a 'hazard analysis system' and apply self-monitoring procedures to check water quality at specific points along the production line.

    Senior health inspector Panayiotis Tsangaris said that some of the eight companies were already in line with the EU directive.

    Others did apply self-monitoring, but at irregular intervals.

    He praised the quality of the country's water, which is fully compliant with EU hygiene standards.

    The new requirements will simply safeguard and shore-up that quality, in conjunction with frequent examinations by the health services.

    Water trucks will also be subject to random water testing by the state services, whereas in the past licences were granted after insuring that the vehicles were suitable for transporting their load.

    Distributors will also be asked to prove the source from which their water was extracted.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] British troops in Akrotiri oil spill clean-up

    BRITISH troops were yesterday involved in a massive operation to clean up 10 tonnes of crude oil washed up on a 200-metre stretch of the Akrotiri coastline.

    Between 60 and 70 troops from Akrotiri and Episkopi are shovelling and collecting clumps of oil by hand and dumping them in black bin liners along the beach to the east of the RAF airstrip.

    Some 200 metres of coastline are thought to be damaged and estimates cost the labour-intensive procedure at 15,000 - a figure set to double by the end of another four days of hard labour.

    Even then, organisers say it will take another week of light work to finish the operation.

    The source of the spill, which first appeared at Akrotiri earlier this week, is still unconfirmed. Reports suggest the oil may be an overspill from the electricity sub-station at Moni, which reported a leak last Saturday.

    Officials from the Department of Fisheries have taken samples, which will confirm where the pollution is coming from.

    The major headache and financial burden is the disposal of the waste. The commander of the operation, Flight Lieutenant Julian Bell, said the Vassiliko power station was being assessed to determine whether it would be a suitable site for disposing of the waste.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] 420,000 partridges shot last year

    OVER 59,000 hares and 420,000 partridges were shot during last year's hunting season, according to a recent study carried out by the Game Department.

    During the same period, it was estimated that hunters killed 15,000 woodcocks, 11,000 quails, and 100,000 thrushes, as well as around 117,000 other birds big and small.

    The study, which questioned 388 hunters out of the 42,895 registered, found that hunters spent an average 6.04 hours hunting per session, compared to 4.5 hours in the previous season.

    In a total of 18 hunting days in last year's hunting season the average percentage of outings was 9.6 while 99.6 per cent of those who hunted last year went out on the first Sunday.

    During the first day, one in four hunters killed a hare, while each hunter bagged an average 2.5 partriges.

    In total, the average hunter last season killed 1.4 hares and 9.8 partridges.

    The Game Department believes that the compilation of such statistics can help in creating a database that would help forecast the dynamics of game populations.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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