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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, March 7, 2002


  • [01] Cabinet discord over turtles
  • [02] Cyprus could host UEFA cup game as Israeli violence spirals
  • [03] Officials stand by work ban for foreign students
  • [04] Greek Cypriot fishermen harassed by Turkish military boat
  • [05] Was toxic container deliberately dumped?
  • [06] Hellenic Bank profits up 16 per cent
  • [07] Bumper crop allows Cyprus to export olive oil all over the world
  • [08] OEOA president visits Cyprus
  • [09] Traffic police has beaten me up, says 62-year-old from Avdimou

  • [01] Cabinet discord over turtles

    By Jean Christou

    AGRICULTURE Minster Costas Themistocleous yesterday criticised cabinet colleague Communications Minster Averoff Neophytou for allegedly giving false information to the House Environment Committee.

    Deputies were on Tuesday discussing land development in an area near Polis Chyrsochous, near the breeding grounds for the caretta caretta turtle, when Neophytou said the cabinet had rejected an agriculture ministry proposal to protect the turtles.

    However, Themistocleous said yesterday the cabinet had not made any decision on the proposal put forward by his ministry but had merely asked for additional information.

    Neophytou told the committee the proposal had been rejected on January 17 but Themistocleous said ministers had asked for information on the protection of the turtles in Greece and other European countries.

    "The issue is still open," Themistocleous said yesterday. "We have collected the additional information and we will submit it to the cabinet within the next two weeks after which the issue will be finalised."

    Themistocleous criticised Neophytou for bringing up the issue at the House saying deputies only had a right to be informed on actual cabinet decisions, not proposals that have been put forward by ministries but are still pending approval.

    Environment Committee chairman George Lillikas said it was not the first time deputies had received conflicting reports from government ministers.

    "What comes under house scrutiny is not the opinion of some ministers but decisions of the cabinet," he said, adding that there was a need to protect the turtles since Cyprus had signed international conventions on this issue.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Cyprus could host UEFA cup game as Israeli violence spirals

    By George Psyllides

    CYPRUS could play host to the UEFA cup quarter-final fixture between AC Milan and Hapoel Tel Aviv after the European federation yesterday suspended all European competition matches in Israel until further notice.

    According to a UEFA statement, the tie between the two teams, scheduled for March 14, has to be held at a neutral venue.

    Although it has not been made official, Cyprus Football Federation Chairman Kostakis Koutsokoumnis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that he had been in contact with the Israeli Federation to discuss the possibility of the match been held in Cyprus.

    "UEFA has already taken the decision, but Hapoel have not yet received official notification," Koutsokoumnis said.

    "I understand it's just a matter of hours before they receive the official letter," he added.

    Koutsokoumnis said the Israeli federation had already contacted its Cypriot counterparts, to make arrangements for the game to be held in Cyprus.

    It is understood, however, that the Israelis are appealing UEFA's decision.

    UEFA chief executive Gerhard Aigner, who has written to the Israeli Football Association informing them of the decision, said: "UEFA has been closely monitoring the situation in Israel over recent months.

    "We have noted with great concern the increasing number of tragic events and the most recent escalation of violence which has now reached Tel Aviv.

    "In light of this situation and in the interests of safety and security, UEFA has decided that no more European competition matches can be staged in Israel until further notice."

    The move comes the day after two Israeli internationals, Yossi Abuksis and Assi Domb of Hapoel, were forced to dive for their lives when a Palestinian gunman opened fire in a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing three people.

    AC Milan spokesman Ugo Allevi told Reuters yesterday: "We have been told by UEFA this morning that the game will not be in Israel now but we have not been told where the new location will be.

    "Cyprus has been mentioned but we do not know yet.

    "We contacted them because we were concerned about safety," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Officials stand by work ban for foreign students

    By Alexia Saoulli

    UNLIKE Cypriots studying in the United Kingdom, foreigners studying here are not allowed to work, a Labour Ministry official said yesterday.

    He said the law in Cyprus stated that students studying here could only work if it was included as part of their studies, such as hotel management or catering courses.

    "If they do not think that is fair, then they do not come here. It's all written out clearly in the legislature that has just been passed, so it is not as if they are tricked into thinking they can work here part time and support themselves," he said.

    As for European Union students, the law that is being drawn is in line with EU harmonisation laws.

    "Whatever the law says in the EU, we will follow to the letter in Cyprus," he said. "If EU students are allowed to work in EU countries when they are studying, then they will be allowed to work here too."

    Cypriots studying in the United Kingdom on the other hand, are allowed to work during the academic year and holidays to cover their expenses, irrespective of whether or not it is part of the course, the British Council announced yesterday.

    Also, foreign students enrolled for a study period of more than six months, are not expected to pay for medical treatment as they can register with the UK's National Health Scheme (NHS) and are eligible for free health insurance.

    Although studying in the UK for non-EU students is a huge investment for parents, running into thousands of pounds for tuition fees alone, plus an extra 10,000-20,000 per year to make ends meet, the number of Cypriots studying there is on the increase. During the academic year 2000-2001, 3, 664 students alone were registered as studying in the UK, with Cyprus ranking eleventh on the list of all non European Union students studying at British Higher Education institutions.

    But the British Council maintains that studying in the UK is in actually cheaper than most people think because the study period lasts for three years, instead of four as in Cyprus, Greece and much of continental Europe.

    The annual British Educational Fair is at the International Conference Centre in Nicosia from March 7-9 from 3pm-8.30pm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Greek Cypriot fishermen harassed by Turkish military boat

    THE TURKISH military allegedly confiscated nets and harassed a couple of Greek Cypriot fishermen yesterday, in the sea just off Kato Pyrgos in Tilliria, according to the sailors.

    Father and son Andreas Dracos and Christos Stylianou claimed that a Turkish soldier yielding a gun forced them to abandon their nets and return to shore yesterday morning.

    According to their testimony a Turkish supply vessel approached their fishing boat, about two nautical miles off Kato Pyrgos and one mile away from the occupied Petra tou Limniti.

    The Turkish boat was headed towards the occupied, Kokkina pocket, accessible to the Turks from the sea only.

    As they neared the fishermen, they said a Turkish soldier brandished a gun and forced them to flee for the shore, where they reported the matter to police in Kato Pyrgos.

    Two hours later Greek Cypriot security forces spotted a second Turkish boat approaching the area of the incident and gathering up the discarded nets.

    The incident was reported to UNFICYP immediately.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Was toxic container deliberately dumped?

    By George Psyllides

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday vowed to find out who was responsible for abandoning a container full of toxic material at the Limassol port since 1997.

    The revelation was made on Tuesday by DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis, who charged that a container full of toxic material had been sitting in the port for years, with potentially lethal effects in case of a leak.

    Savvides said it had been determined that the container, which is full of chemicals used in detergents, arrived on the island in 1997 and was earmarked for transit.

    But for some reason it stayed in Cyprus, and no one was willing to buy it when it was auctioned in accordance to the law.

    Savvides said it was unthinkable to have material that could cause serious problems sitting in an area used by thousands of people every day and finding out about it only from television.

    "This is unacceptable and I have asked for an investigation to determine why the container is in Cyprus," Savvides said.

    The minister did not rule out the possibility that the container might have been dumped here by someone wanting to offload toxic waste.

    "As you know, there is an organised system, (which gets rid of toxic materials) by moving them from port to port and dumping anywhere they deem convenient," Savvides said.

    He added that if this were the case it would provide a good chance to authorities to track down the perpetrators and stamp out the practice.

    More prosaically, Savvides said it could also be a simple financial dispute.

    Concerning the ship moored just outside Limassol, which is loaded with around 3,000 tonnes of acetylene, which could explode if it came into contact with water, Savvides said it did not seem to pose an immediate public health issue.

    "I don't think it is an immediate danger, but the matter has to be resolve soon in order for the ship to leave," he said.

    The Chairman of the Port Authority, Christos Hadjimanolis, said the Lady Doris had been arrested because of a financial dispute between two foreign companies.

    Hadjimanolis said that when the ship arrived and declared its cargo it had been ordered to stay out of port after the authority realised it carried a hazardous load.

    He said the ship should have left Cyprus waters after it was not allowed to enter the port, especially since the island was not its destination, "but the court decided to arrest the boat despite our objections".

    Hadjimanolis suggested there was a loophole in legislation that needed to be plugged in order to avoid similar incidents.

    Matsakis yesterday slammed the merchant shipping department for allowing the ship to enter Cypriot waters while other countries had turned it away.

    But Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou said the whole issue had been blow out of proportion.

    Neophytou said the Supreme Court had decided to arrest the ship while instructions have been given for it to be anchored in a secluded area.

    He said the government's hands were tied by the court's decision but noted that the matter would be re-examined.

    Concerning the container, Neophytou said he did not want to play down the danger but added that it was not as if it was a nuclear bomb.

    Instructions have been given to the relevant services to sort out the issue, Neophytou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Hellenic Bank profits up 16 per cent

    HELLENIC Bank beat declining interest rates and falling stock markets to report 2001 pre-tax profits up 16 per cent at 20.4 million pounds, the bank said yesterday.

    Boosted by new business in Greece, the bank said its after-tax profits rose 10 per cent to 12.28 million.

    Preliminary group profit from ordinary operations was up 28 per cent to 28.7 million while the bank booked a 1.4 million loss from a revaluation of securities listed on the poorly-performing Cyprus stock market.

    Hellenic, the third largest domestic bank, is viewed as being less exposed to poorly performing markets which affected the bottom line of much larger players Laiki and Bank of Cyprus, which reported their own results last week.

    Both larger banks, Laiki in particular, took a hit from a stock market slide in 2000 and poorly performing equity investments since then.

    Laiki posted a 2.09 million 2001 net profit last week from 69.13 million in 2000, while Bank of Cyprus saw net profits rise 8.8 per cent to 46.5 million - aided by an exceptional income from selling a factoring venture in Greece.

    Hellenic said that while successive interest rate reductions and weak stock markets impacted profitability, new business in Greece made a substantial contribution to operating profits of the group.

    The bank opened a Greek subsidiary three years ago and now has 12 branches. It planned to increase the number by 20 by the end of this year.

    The bank said it planned a final dividend of 2.5 cents per share in addition to the two cents per share interim given in 2001 and would maintain a dividend reinvestment scheme offering a 10 percent discount on share options.

    Hellenic shares closed up four cents to 91 on the Cyprus bourse yesterday. (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Bumper crop allows Cyprus to export olive oil all over the world

    By Jennie Matthew

    CYPRUS is hoping to export 1,000 tonnes of olive oil this year, capitalising on the success of bumper crops following the planting of new olive groves.

    Ending years of shortfall, new olive trees mean that Cyprus was able to ship 850 tonnes of its oil to the US, the UK, South Africa, Croatia, Italy the Arab states, China and Taiwan last year.

    Two years ago, emergency stocks were imported from Greece to satisfy consumer demand to top up insufficient home-produced oil.

    The Chairman of the Olive Products Marketing Board George Charalambides said the success had been due to intensive planting of new groves that produced bigger crops than older trees.

    The boom, which precedes the island's entry into the European Union, is likely to stand Cyprus in good stead when zero import duties from the EU oil lake will increase competition.

    "We're not worried about competition. We're now passing through the transition period and there are some difficulties. But once we're a member, all surpluses will belong to the EU and there are instructions for EU countries to help deal with that," said the director general of Board, George Christodoulou.

    Neither will the Board be able to charge excessive import duties on oil from abroad.

    Imports from outside the EU will be eligible within the framework of the GATT Agreement and the monopolistic Marketing Board will be redrawn as a producers' association.

    Christodoulou said the Board was working in close co-operation with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that the expansion of olive groves made economic sense.

    "Business is good provided you have the right quantity and quality to change. I'm not saying there's not enough knowledge, but rapid expansion of oil production is not correct," he said.

    "You have to expand gradually, knowing the olive varieties, consumption figures and the preferences of consumers. Its not just planting any olive tree anywhere you want," he finished.

    Around 50 per cent of olive oil produced in Cyprus is extra virgin, 25 per cent virgin and 25 per cent ordinary.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] OEOA president visits Cyprus

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE PRESIDENT of the Greek Olympic Committee (OEOA) fronted an Olympic Information Seminar at the Nicosia Hilton last night, to unveil details of the preparations for the Athens 2004 Games.

    Committee President Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki yesterday stressed Greek solidarity with Cyprus and their wish to keep the Cypriot public informed of activities and preparations leading up to 2004.

    The glitzzy, three-hour conference focused on marketing the Athens 2004 programme and products; athletic facilities and training bases in Cyprus; press handling, hotel and tourist concerns, together with opportunities for Cypriots to volunteer to work at the world's biggest sporting festival.

    Last night's luxurious event kick-started Angelopoulou's three-day visit to the island, to promote the Games.

    This morning she meets teachers, lunches with President Glafcos Clerides and tonight hosts a dinner for Greek and Cypriot journalists at the club- restaurant Zoo, in Nicosia.

    Tomorrow she will visit the Pancyprian Gymnasium, the offices of the Cyprus Olympic Committee and the head of Cyprus University, before meeting members of the press at the Hilton in the afternoon.

    The Committee President and accompanying Greek journalists return to Athens on Sunday morning.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Traffic police has beaten me up, says 62-year-old from Avdimou

    A 62-year-old man, admitted to hospital on Monday suffering from a heart attack, has alleged that police officers beat him up by the side of the road after stopping him on suspicion of speeding.

    AKEL deputy Yiannakis Thoma has written on his behalf to the Attorney General Alecos Markides, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and Chief of Police Andreas Angelides, deploring this and similar allegations of police brutality.

    Traffic police stopped former official at the Paphos District Veterinary Services, Giorgos Mouzouras from Avdimou at 9.40pm on Monday evening, just outside Episkopi on the Limassol to Paphos highway.

    According to Thoma, the problems started when Mouzouras refused to get out of his car and submit to an alcohol test.

    Similarly refusing to abandon his car on the hard shoulder so that police could drive him to the station, he alleges that officers punched and threw him to the ground.

    A blow to the head left him unconscious and by the time he arrived at hospital he had had a heart attack.

    One officer confessed to striking Mouzouras with his hand at various points on his body, in the presence of five or six other policemen who tried to restrain him.

    But the official police bulletin issued on Tuesday claimed that Mouzouras became abusive when officers wanted to breathalyse him, and assaulted officers. He was injured in the subsequent fray that surrounded his arrest.

    Doctors yesterday described Mouzouras's condition as serious.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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