Read the Treaty Establishing the European Community (Rome, 25 March 1957) A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Sunday, 8 December 2019
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-01-31

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

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


Thursday, January 31, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] 'Children left without food or care for three days'
  • [02] Drug importers hit back at excessive profit claims
  • [03] My Party virus traps users into opening attachment
  • [04] Villager missing
  • [05] RAF bombers finish exercises
  • [06] Klerides: little I could do to save stock market from collapse
  • [07] Tourism revenue hits 1.27 billion
  • [08] Gun theft suspect apologises to the nation
  • [09] Drug importers hit back at excessive profit claims
  • [10] Engineer blames borehole for water contamination
  • [11] Market misery as shares fall again
  • [12] Cyprus spending power tops Spain, Greece and Portugal
  • [13] Former Melkonian principal dies

  • [01] 'Children left without food or care for three days'

    By Rita Kyriakides

    FIVE siblings between the ages of four months and six years old were yesterday being treated at Nicosia's Makarios Hospital for the effects of negligence.

    The two boys and three girls were taken to hospital by the Social Welfare Department on Tuesday night, after they discovered the children had been left without care or food for three days.

    The Department had been checking on the Nicosia family after receiving a tip-off.

    When Social Workers tried to remove the children from the house, the parents refused to open the door and a court order had to be obtained for police to enter the house and take the children.

    The children were taken to the Makarios Hospital, where they were examined by doctors and by State Pathologist, Eleni Antoniou.

    "I was disgusted at the condition of the children when I examined them. There are no signs of abuse or injuries, but they were very dirty," said Antoniou.

    According to the Head of the Social Welfare Department, Evanthia Papasavvas, the children had been neglected for at least three days and would be removed from their parents if it was discovered they could not care for them properly. She also said the conditions in the house had been very bad.

    "The children will be taken to a foster home, preferably with relatives. We are working with the parents and other interested parties to decide on the children's best interests," said Papasavvas.

    Papasavvas said the family had economic problems, but were receiving benefit payments from the government.

    The children were still at the hospital yesterday and no indication has been given as to when they will be discharged.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Drug importers hit back at excessive profit claims

    By Alexia Saoulli

    PSYCHIATRIST Yiangos Mikellides yesterday accused local pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies of being "faceless, profit-making organisations" no longer concerned with peoples' medical welfare.

    Mikellides told the Cyprus Mail that a "cartel of nine or 10" pharmaceutical companies "ran the show", despite efforts to liberalise the market, and that the profit cut they added to prices was staggering.

    But both the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies and the Pancyprian Pharmacy Association hit back, saying Mikellides' allegations were as uncalled for as they were incorrect.

    Mikellides said medicine prices were set by the government in such a way that pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies made a 38 per cent profit on drugs. In other words, he said, consumers were paying nearly 70 per cent over and above the factory cost of imported drugs.

    "What the factory was selling for 10, is being sold for 17 on the local market," he said - adding this was turning medicines into a luxury item when they were a vital necessity.

    Mikellides claimed that although a new law had been passed last year to free the market from what had once been a monopoly, the government had also added a number of stipulations that prevented smaller sized business from joining the market due to the extortionate costs involved.

    "The new procedure for selling drugs was a chance to start importing medicine from other countries at lower prices, and to force local pharmaceutical companies to be more competitive, therefore driving prices down. But instead of cutting costs, they claim that packaging, transportation costs, instruction leaflets, and personnel to handle the whole procedure are very expensive, which results in smaller importers opting out of the game."

    He claimed the "cartel" did all this under the guise of protecting the consumer, when in fact all they were interested in was profit and maintaining a monopoly.

    But the President of the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies, Sotiris Iacovides, dismissed the cartel claim out of hand, saying there were as many as 110 registered pharmaceutical companies; as for the 30 per cent profit margin above factory cost price, this had been set by the government and was deemed to be fair.

    "The promotion and distribution of drugs is no small feat," said Iacovides. "We must hire scientists to inform doctors about the new drugs on the market, and promote the medicine as best we can."

    As for stipulations on what procedures a pharmaceutical company had to go through in order to register, he said, these were set by the EU itself and were not up to the government.

    "There may have been a monopoly in the past," he admitted, "but since last May, the market has been liberalised and anyone can become involved as long as they follow EU guidelines."

    The President of the Pancyprian Pharmacy Association Nicos Nouris said calls for smaller profit margins were ridiculous, insisting Cyprus pharmacists made some of the lowest profits in Europe.

    He conceded that drugs pricing was a huge topic and that, under the proposed new health scheme, prices could perhaps be reduced further.

    But he insisted that though drugs may be slightly more expensive in Cyprus than in other European countries, they were only marginally so.

    Both Nouris and Iacovides said that the island's private sector was such a small market that it had no bargaining power in negotiations with large pharmaceutical factories abroad.

    "You cannot compare the 50 per cent of the Cyprus population (that buys drugs privately) to the UK's population," Iacovides said. "The factories abroad will sell drugs to the UK at a cheaper price than they will to us." This was not something the government or they could control, he said, despite what Mikellides claimed.

    "Besides, the way the market operates now, if you can find drugs cheaper somewhere else, you have the right to do so," Iacovides said.

    He added that comparing drugs prices in Cyprus to those in Greece was not fair, because Greece had a Social Health Scheme that meant the government subsidised the cost of drugs, and also illegally froze price increases, for which it was currently before the EU courts.

    "If you compare local prices to other European countries, you will find that there is hardly any difference at all, and that we strive to ensure that the paying public has the best all round deal."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] My Party virus traps users into opening attachment

    By Rita Kyriakides

    COMPUTER technicians in Cyprus are not sure what to expect from the latest virus to hit internet users.

    The Marketing Manager of Spidernet, Thois Themistocleous, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday they had had a few cases of the virus, but that customers had been informed about it though an e-mail and been given instructions on how to delete it.

    "We are not sure yet exactly what it does. We know that it sends itself out to all the e-mail addresses stored on the user's hard drive. We are researching to find out if it does anything else," said Themistocleous.

    A local computer technician said there was a possibility the virus might contain a Trojan or back door that could leave computers vulnerable to hackers.

    "We've seen a few cases of it, but it doesn't seem to be anything serious. However, if big companies are hit and they are left vulnerable, it could be very dangerous," said the source.

    The subject line of the e-mail is 'new photos from my party!' and the body of the e-mail contains ' Hello! My party... It was absolutely amazing! I have attached my web page with new photos! If you can please make color prints of my photos. Thanks!'

    The e-mail has an attachment that contains the virus called 'www.myparty.yahoo.com', which may trick users into thinking they will be taken to a Yahoo website.

    But the attachment is in fact an executable file with a '.com' extension, not a URL, and running this attachment infects the local machine and sends itself out to all addresses found in the Windows Address Book.

    In addition, the worm sends a message to the author so the author can track the worm.

    On Windows NT, 2000 or XP systems, the worm drops a backdoor Trojan that allows a hacker to control your system, which can be detected as Backdoor.Myparty.

    Computer experts recommend users install anti virus software and keep them updated as the majority of them have an antidote to most viruses within a few hours of an outbreak.

    For more information and instructions for its removal go to http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.myparty@mm.html

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Villager missing

    A 55-YEAR-OLD man from the village of Kantou was reported missing yesterday by his wife Androulla Charalambous.

    Pelopida Charalambos, 55, was last seen on Tuesday morning when he left the family home in the Limassol district village.

    About 1.70 metres tall and of large build, the father of three has grey- black hair and wears glasses.

    He was last seen wearing a jacket, black trousers and a blue vest-top with white stripes.

    He limps slightly because of difficulty with his right foot and drives a black and grey Mitsubishi twin cabin truck, registration ABC 202.

    Anyone with any information should contact Limassol CID or the nearest police station.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] RAF bombers finish exercises

    A TEAM of Tornado RAF bombers will finish a week of training exercises at the Akrotiri British Base today.

    The pilots have spent the last seven days engaging in a range of manoeuvres including air-to-air and air-to-ground firing, as well as target practice at the Episkopi Bay firing range.

    SBA authorities said only training bombs have been used in order to prevent environmental damage and that bombers were sticking to predetermined flight routes above the sea.

    Another six teams of fighter pilots will arrive on the island for exercises between April and November.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Klerides: little I could do to save stock market from collapse

    By Melina Demetriou

    FINANCE Minister Takis Klerides yesterday pre-empted attacks from deputies over the stock exchange (CSE) fiasco with a well-prepared three-hour speech made before the House Finance and Watchdog Committees.

    Addressing a joint meeting of the parliamentary committees, which are conducting an investigation into alleged stock market frauds, Klerides yesterday admitted that he held a share of responsibility for the CSE gloom, but cited relevant laws and facts to argue that he was powerless to reverse certain decisions made by the stock market authorities.

    The marathon speech started at 3pm and went on until 6, leaving no time for questions from deputies. The minister said he needed two more hours to finish his presentation, and the meeting will therefore resume next Wednesday.

    "I have the view that political responsibility has a general character. Every competent body is burdened with responsibility according to its duties," said the minister. "How can the Foreign Minister or the Parliament wipe off their responsibilities if the economy is doing poorly or if a bad law has been implemented?" he asked.

    Klerides added: "the people are the sole judge to assign responsibility."

    The minister said the general impression that he had superpowers when it came to decisions concerning the stock market was wrong.

    "It would be unacceptable for me to intervene in these matters, and laws that were recently implemented strip me of the right to impose my opinion on the CSE Council and the Securities and Exchange Commissions," he pointed out.

    However, the minister conceded that he would accept full responsibility if a member of one of those bodies was found to have acted out of line with regulations.

    He made it clear, however, that the law did not allow him to fire a member of either of those bodies before they had completed their term of office.

    The minister made detailed reference to the law on the stock market to argue that he could not have stopped the market from plunging.

    "The minister can have a say in stock market issues only when the Government Commissioner who heads the Securities and Exchange Commission has a disagreement with the CSE Council and asks him to rule on the subject."

    Klerides added the Government Commissioner had never sought his opinion on a matter he had the authority to decide on, such as the possible suspension of trading in a company's stock. He said, however, that in the past two years he had been asked to say whether six companies were eligible for listing on the stock market.

    The minister cited five cases in which he had ruled against a company's listing.

    One of those companies, the minister said, was LK Globalsoft.Com Limited, whose share price crashed before it was temporarily suspended from trading last year because of alleged irregularities.

    Klerides said that, although he had ruled against the company's entry, in the end Globalsoft had made it onto the stock market because the Securities and Exchange Commission and the CSE Council had agreed to admit it despite insufficient information on its activities.

    Meanwhile, the Committees submitted the minutes of their past few sessions to the minister after some deputies charged that members of the Committees had exceeded their duties when they asked Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou to step down.

    The two Committees believe the minutes will prove that they had acted in line with Parliament's code of practice.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Tourism revenue hits 1.27 billion

    INCOME from tourism rose seven per cent to 1.27 billion in 2001, the Tourism Ministry said yesterday.

    Some 2.69 million people visited the island last year, a 0.4 per cent increase from 2000, when arrivals reached 2.68 million. The overall rise comes despite a steady decline in arrivals since September 11.

    Income from tourism reached 1.19 billion pounds in 2000, the ministry said.

    Authorities expect a slower economic growth this year based on an anticipated decline in tourists after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

    Month-on-month arrivals have been steadily dropping since last September, culminating in a December fall of 20 per cent.

    The Central Bank last week issued a forecast of Cyprus' economy expanding by 2.5 per cent this year, while the Finance Ministry issued a forecast of 2.8 per cent. The island's economy grew by an estimated 3.7 per cent in 2001.

    The Central Bank's 2002 growth forecast includes an estimated five per cent decline in tourism arrivals.

    Since 1997, total arrivals have risen by 29 per cent. Income has increased by 51.5 per cent from 843 million in 1997 to last year's record 1.27 billion.

    "This percentage is very important because it confirms once again the vital role played by tourism in the Cyprus economy," said a Ministry representative.

    Tourism is a key component of the economy, representing around one fifth of the island's gross domestic product.

    The government said the statistics were favourable and attributed them to its policies of upgrading the services on offer.

    Minister Nicos Rolandis was yesterday abroad and unavailable for comment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Gun theft suspect apologises to the nation

    By George Psyllides

    A 23-YEAR-old supermarket employee held on suspicion of stealing arms from a military depot in Evrychou yesterday told the Nicosia court he was sorry for his treacherous act and was ready to bear the punishment.

    Panicos Papanicolaou was yesterday referred to the Assizes court, together with conscript Antonis Nicolaou, 19, and 21-year-old cabaret worker Eugenios Zahariou. There, they will face nine charges, including armed robbery, possession and transfer of explosives and firearms and breaking into a munitions depot.

    Nicolaou and Zahariou were also charged with conspiracy to commit felony.

    The three men were arrested 10 days ago, just 48 hours after three hooded men raided the army post near Evryhou and stole all the weapons stored in the armoury.

    The raiders stole three G3 automatic weapons, one HK11 light machine gun, one MG3 machine gun, and a Russian-made RPG 40mm anti-tank rocket launcher along with six missiles.

    They also took 1,445 7.62mm rounds along with 1,000 machine gun rounds.

    All the weapons have been recovered.

    The court heard how the three men allegedly used pepper spray and a stun gun to subdue the three soldiers manning the post before fleeing with their loot.

    The prosecution yesterday requested the defendants held until their trial, arguing there was a risk of them absconding, as the offences they were accused of could land them in prison for life.

    The prosecutor said the defendants could also try to influence material witnesses if they were released, revealing to the court that they had already allegedly tried to force two of their friends to help them by providing false alibis about their whereabouts on the night of the raid.

    Neophytos Papamiltiadous, defending, said he had no objection to the prosecutor's request, adding that Papanicolaou had asked him to apologise of his behalf to his family and to the nation for his treacherous act, adding that he was ready to accept whatever punishment was imposed.

    The judge ordered that the three remain in custody until their trial begins on March 5.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Drug importers hit back at excessive profit claims

    By Alexia Saoulli

    PSYCHIATRIST Yiangos Mikellides yesterday accused local pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies of being "faceless, profit-making organisations" no longer concerned with peoples' medical welfare.

    Mikellides told the Cyprus Mail that a "cartel of nine or 10" pharmaceutical companies "ran the show", despite efforts to liberalise the market, and that the profit cut they added to prices was staggering.

    But both the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies and the Pancyprian Pharmacy Association hit back, saying Mikellides' allegations were as uncalled for as they were incorrect.

    Mikellides said medicine prices were set by the government in such a way that pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies made a 38 per cent profit on drugs. In other words, he said, consumers were paying nearly 70 per cent over and above the factory cost of imported drugs.

    "What the factory was selling for 10, is being sold for 17 on the local market," he said - adding this was turning medicines into a luxury item when they were a vital necessity.

    Mikellides claimed that although a new law had been passed last year to free the market from what had once been a monopoly, the government had also added a number of stipulations that prevented smaller sized business from joining the market due to the extortionate costs involved.

    "The new procedure for selling drugs was a chance to start importing medicine from other countries at lower prices, and to force local pharmaceutical companies to be more competitive, therefore driving prices down. But instead of cutting costs, they claim that packaging, transportation costs, instruction leaflets, and personnel to handle the whole procedure are very expensive, which results in smaller importers opting out of the game."

    He claimed the "cartel" did all this under the guise of protecting the consumer, when in fact all they were interested in was profit and maintaining a monopoly.

    But the President of the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies, Sotiris Iacovides, dismissed the cartel claim out of hand, saying there were as many as 110 registered pharmaceutical companies; as for the 30 per cent profit margin above factory cost price, this had been set by the government and was deemed to be fair.

    "The promotion and distribution of drugs is no small feat," said Iacovides. "We must hire scientists to inform doctors about the new drugs on the market, and promote the medicine as best we can."

    As for stipulations on what procedures a pharmaceutical company had to go through in order to register, he said, these were set by the EU itself and were not up to the government.

    "There may have been a monopoly in the past," he admitted, "but since last May, the market has been liberalised and anyone can become involved as long as they follow EU guidelines."

    The President of the Pancyprian Pharmacy Association Nicos Nouris said calls for smaller profit margins were ridiculous, insisting Cyprus pharmacists made some of the lowest profits in Europe.

    He conceded that drugs pricing was a huge topic and that, under the proposed new health scheme, prices could perhaps be reduced further.

    But he insisted that though drugs may be slightly more expensive in Cyprus than in other European countries, they were only marginally so.

    Both Nouris and Iacovides said that the island's private sector was such a small market that it had no bargaining power in negotiations with large pharmaceutical factories abroad.

    "You cannot compare the 50 per cent of the Cyprus population (that buys drugs privately) to the UK's population," Iacovides said. "The factories abroad will sell drugs to the UK at a cheaper price than they will to us." This was not something the government or they could control, he said, despite what Mikellides claimed.

    "Besides, the way the market operates now, if you can find drugs cheaper somewhere else, you have the right to do so," Iacovides said.

    He added that comparing drugs prices in Cyprus to those in Greece was not fair, because Greece had a Social Health Scheme that meant the government subsidised the cost of drugs, and also illegally froze price increases, for which it was currently before the EU courts.

    "If you compare local prices to other European countries, you will find that there is hardly any difference at all, and that we strive to ensure that the paying public has the best all round deal."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Engineer blames borehole for water contamination

    By Alexia Saoulli

    A BOREHOLE is thought to have contaminated drinking water in the Makedonitissa area in Nicosia, resident Olga Salangos - a civil engineer at the Dhekelia desalination plant - said yesterday.

    Salangos told the Cyprus Mail that the Nicosia Water Board had admitted that a borehole could have contaminated the water she and her neighbours had been receiving since November 21, through a possible leak in the area's water pipes.

    The desalination plant engineer said on Monday she had carried out 20 of her own tests on the drinking water provided to her home in Makedonitissa over the past two months, and found that it was not "suitable for consumption".

    Water analysis of her drinking water and those of five neighbours showed 347mg/l of sodium, 315mg/l of chloride and 1,200mg/l of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). The European Union stipulates that these levels should not exceed 200mg/l, 200mg/l and 500mg/l respectively, she said.

    Fed up with being ignored by the authorities, Salangos went public, prompting the Nicosia Water Board to agree to take a sample of the water, in her presence on Tuesday.

    However, she claimed that, on Monday, the Water Board decided to empty out all the area's pipelines and re-filled them with fresh water, forgetting to take a sample of the old water before the pipes were empty.

    Therefore when it was time to take a sample of water from the pipes the following morning, the analysis came back clean.

    "In light of this, we decided to take a common analysis of a home water tank that we believe represents the water that was being given to us in previous days. This is because the person living there lives alone and would not have been able to empty out the tank in a day, only to for it be refilled with the new fresh water," she said.

    She added that the Water Board now believes the area may be suffering from a borehole contamination, as it insisted it had not been distributing "bad water". A full investigation was imminent, she added.

    "Basically our target is to get good water. It is not there to lay blame anywhere or to point the finger. We just want good quality water and nothing else."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Market misery as shares fall again

    THE ALL-SHARE index hit a year-low for the third consecutive day this week yesterday, dipping 1.70 per cent to close at 120.89 with volume a meagre 2.34 million.

    Neither was the performance for the FTSE any better, as the top-20 blue chips flagged 2.06 per cent to come into rest at 495.27 by noon.

    The banks cornered most of what little action was on offer, hogging 34.33 per cent of business.

    Not that the activity bode well for the selling price. Bank of Cyprus was the most stable, dropping 1.59 per cent from 1.86 to 1.85.

    Cyprus Popular Bank shed three cents or 2.63 per cent to close at 1.48, and Hellenic Bank lost 2.29 per cent, nonetheless staying on the even keel at 85 cents.

    Cyventure Capital Ltd topped yesterday's list of winners, jumping 14.22 per cent, translating into a real price increase of 4.3 cents, working out at 24.9 cents a share.

    At the other end of the scale Blue Island Holdings was the day's worst performing stock, plummeting 15.03 per cent.

    Pierides G. Electrical Ltd also scored miserably, down 14.74 per cent, closing down 0.8 cents to 13.3.

    "The liquidations dagger is pushed deeper and deeper into the heart of the investment community with rumours that most of the selling comes from stockbrokerages that trade for their own sake," wrote the independent xak.com commentator.

    With the annual "closed period" for most companies starting today and lingering until the end of March, analysts put Wednesday's havoc down to last minute moves.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Cyprus spending power tops Spain, Greece and Portugal

    CYPRIOTS enjoy greater spending power than the Spanish, Greeks and Portuguese as well as a higher standard of living than several regions in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    According to statistics released by Eurostat, Cyprus has a higher average purchasing power standard than the three EU members, Spain, Greece and Portugal at 85 per cent of the current EU average, compared to 80, 67 and 74 respectively.

    Calculated on figures available for 1999, the only two regions among other EU candidate countries to better the Cypriot score are Prague and Bratislava.

    On the regional stakes, Cyprus outperforms England's North East, North West and Yorkshire, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, where the percentage is as low as 80.

    Cypriots also have more purchasing power than residents in outer London. The only parts of Britain that outstrip the Mediterranean island are Inner London - the richest sector of the EU with a staggering 246 per cent of average GDP - the commuter-belt South East, the Midlands, the South and Scotland.

    Turkey, Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania are the EU candidate countries with the lowest percentage of average GDP at 28, 28, 27 and 25 respectively.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [13] Former Melkonian principal dies

    Former Melkonian principal Sossie Bedikian has died at the age of 72.

    Bedikian was born at the Magaravank Armenian Monastery, which has been under Turkish occupation since 1974. She was a distinguished teacher and historian and was active in community and Diaspora affairs for four decades.

    She served as principal of the Melkonian in Nicosia for 12 years, after which she devoted her time to teaching Armenian history and world history until June 2001.

    Bedikian was also a founding member of the Editorial Committee of the Armenian Paros community newspaper, which is published in Greek and Armenian.

    Her funeral will take place at the Sourp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church in Nicosia on Saturday.

    Donations in lieu of floral tributes should be made to the Paros community newspaper.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


    Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    cmnews2html v1.00 run on Thursday, 31 January 2002 - 14:01:17 UTC