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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-16

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

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


Saturday, March 16, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Limassol police probe killing of stray dogs
  • [02] Airport security to be stepped after report highlights gaps
  • [03] Greeks warn they'll fight citizenship amendment
  • [04] Condolences
  • [05] Cypriots held in Morocco on kidnapping suspicion
  • [06] Postal mix up blamed for delay in road tax renewals
  • [07] Price of milk expected to side slightly

  • [01] Limassol police probe killing of stray dogs

    By Jennie Matthew

    POLICE are investigating allegations that the owner of a Limassol dog home and animal shelter has slaughtered countless animals in his charge during his tenure.

    The case came to light on Thursday when a foreigner worker at the centre told police that his boss had given 11 dogs a lethal injection last week and then disposed of them at the dump in Vati.

    Petrified that he would be deported for spilling the beans, the Indian employee only came forward under pressure from animal rights activists, concerned when 14 dogs mysteriously vanished from the shelter one day last week.

    In two written statements submitted to police on Thursday and yesterday, Tony Rosario alleged that his employer had threatened to send him back to his country if he reported the dog slaughter to the authorities.

    Champion of the case and member of the Green Party Pantelis Mextaxas said Rosario had been forced to live and work in the animal shelter for three months without any days off since he arrived from India.

    "I have information about many more bad things that happened in the same place. I will work day and night to get to the bottom of this. I am a better friend of animals than I am of people. This situation smells bad," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    He alleges that the owner of the shelter had admitted to him that he had been putting animals down for a long time.

    Metaxas, who is trying to drum up government support for an 'animal park' in Limassol so that strays can live in comfort, yesterday called on Attorney-general Alecos Markides to order a full investigation.

    The centre in question is used by pet owners as a boarding house when they go on holiday, as well as by the municipality as a place to deposit strays from the streets in case anyone claims them.

    According to the law last revised in 1955, any stray animal not claimed after 48 hours can be put to sleep by a veterinary surgeon or personnel authorised by written permission.

    But senior veterinary officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Clitos Andreou said that in practice most shelters adopted a "one week" policy.

    "According to our legislation and the European Convention for the Protection of Domestic Animals, ratified by Cyprus, only veterinary officers or another authorised person with written permission can take an animal's life," said Andreou.

    On request from Nicosia, the District Veterinary Officer for Limassol, Ioannis Ioannou, prepared a report for the police on policy regarding strays.

    Ioannou yesterday confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that he had not authorised the shelter's owner to kill any dogs.

    "The police are investigating the case. I gave them my report today about the way we handle stray animals," he said.

    A spokesman for Limassol Police yesterday confirmed that an investigation was under way.

    "The incident happened last week. We haven't arrested anyone. If we do, we'll let you know," he said.

    Asked whether anyone would be arrested he said, "maybe".

    But Metaxas yesterday criticised police for handling the case with a lack of sensitivity and failing to protect the identity of the chief witness, who fears his boss will deport him for reporting the matter.

    The House of Representatives is currently debating a new law that would increase the waiting period before putting animals down from 48 hours to 10 days.

    If passed, the bill will bolster the informal practice of waiting for a week, or longer if an owner has put out an appeal.

    Shelters are also supposed to inform the local press of their charges in an effort to place them with their owners.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Airport security to be stepped after report highlights gaps

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday denied that the island's airports were riddled with security lapses. He said: "Our airports are not riddled with holes, though we are not claiming they are perfect."

    Neophytou said that even US airports had recently proved to have security problems, while last month a suitcase containing gunpowder passed through security checks at Manchester airport.

    "No one can claim they have the perfect system, but it is our responsibility to improve the system," Neophytou said.

    According to reports, a special committee assigned to look into the issue found that Larnaca airport had serious security gaps, prompting a ministerial meeting to discuss the matter.

    The meeting, held on Wednesday, decided to expedite measures since from June 15, responsibility for checking airports security would be undertaken by international organisations.

    The meeting was attended by Neophytou, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis, and officials from the ministries of interior and finance.

    The ministers decided to adopt the same security model used at Spata airport in Greece, which is thought to be one of the safest in Europe.

    Koshis conceded that Larnaca airport did have serious lapses and there did need to be a substantial improvement in security.

    Koshis said it was not possible to have an airport with so many exits and entrances in between checkpoints.

    Neophytou said he never commented on statements made by other ministers.

    The special committee suggested hiring 112 special officers to boost security, a proposal rejected by the government.

    Koshis said that the government would either use officers from various police departments or hire private services.

    The ministers instructed the committee to prepare a fresh report by the end of April so that the airport would fulfil international security standards.

    Koshis said that the measures would be enforced as soon as possible so that the airport would be ready by June 15.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Greeks warn they'll fight citizenship amendment

    By George Psyllides

    GREEK associations yesterday warned they would go all the way in their fight against a controversial amendment to the citizenship law, which grants automatic citizenship to people born of a mixed marriage with a Cypriot mother on or after August 26, 1960 and effectively forces them to serve a 26-month army duty.

    The law has met fierce reaction from Greeks living on the island, the largest group of foreigners affected, who argue that its retroactive nature will force people up to 42-years-old to join the National Guard.

    Until December 31, 2001, the day the amendment was approved, citizenship was only automatically granted to children of mixed marriages born to a Cypriot father.

    But in a bid to erase the disparity between the two sexes the state decided to amend the law, thus granting automatic citizenship to children born to a Cypriot parent of either sex.

    Speaking after a meeting with House President Demetris Christophias, the representative of Greek associations said that they were determined to go all the way in fighting this law.

    Christos Yiannoulis said: "We are totally opposed; maybe they haven't calculated the consequences or our reactions, but we are prepared to go all the way with this."

    Yiannoulis did not elaborate on what he meant but warned that people in Cyprus would live something they have never lived before.

    "We demand from the Greek state to protect its own citizens, who until December 31, 2001 were citizens of the Greek Republic and it is obliged to protect them," Yiannoulis said.

    Yiannoulis slammed some of the media for portraying the Greeks as draft dodgers, something, he said, was quite wrong and unacceptable.

    "If you go around graveyards on the island you'll see the names of many Greeks who died for this place; we're proud of being here," he said.

    He added: "We love this country but we won't allow our names to be dragged through the mud."

    The Greek associations demand that the law take effect from December 31, 2001 while those with dual nationality should be allowed to chose in which army to serve - National Guard or Greek armed forces.

    The Defence Ministry this week said that it would draft 18-year-olds who have gained citizenship, although it would look into the situation concerning the older people.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Condolences

    U.S. PRESIDENT George W. Bush, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and other heads of states yesterday conveyed their condolences for the death of Spyros Kyprianou to the government and people of Cyprus. The leaders expressed their sympathy in letters to President Glafcos Clerides.

    "Former President Kyprianou's record of service to his country is indeed impressive, in particular his search for a Cyprus settlement," Bush said.

    "My deepest sympathy goes to the Kyprianou family and the people of Cyprus."

    Putin said Kyprianou was known as a true and reliable friend of Russia and consistent supporter of the development of relations between his country and Cyprus.

    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said: "We knew him as a sincere statesman and as a dear friend to me personally and a friend of Palestine, supporting the Palestinian aspirations for freedom, sovereignty and independence," he said.

    French President Jacques Chirac and the President of the Swiss confederation Kaspar Villiger also conveyed their condolences to Clerides.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Cypriots held in Morocco on kidnapping suspicion

    FOUR Cypriot citizens have reportedly been arrested in Morocco and have being detained there over the past few days, but information on the case has been sketchy. According to press reports yesterday, three men and a woman were arrested on charges of conspiracy to kidnapping. The woman had been married to a man from Morocco, and when they separated the husband took the child to his country. The Cypriot woman then hired private investigators to track down the father, and the four were reportedly discovered by Moroccan authorities and placed under arrest.

    The Cypriot Foreign Ministry yesterday offered no comment, saying these matters were handled by the appropriate consulate. The local police's Interpol department also said they had not received any information.

    According to the reports, the Cypriot ambassador to France, also charged with representing the island in Morocco, has been informed on the case.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Postal mix up blamed for delay in road tax renewals

    PEOPLE who have not renewed their road tax should not press the panic button just yet, the government reassured yesterday. Some 10,000 people are still waiting to be notified they need to renew their tax disc, but apparently a mix-up between the mail service and the Transport Department has left the letters in limbo.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou explained yesterday the glitch was due to the fact the postal service did not have the postcodes for these people, meaning they would receive the letters belatedly. "Government services will see to it that the pending letters are sent out as soon as possible," Neophytou added.

    "No one will be penalised, so there is no cause for concern," he went on. "We are not about to start punishing people due to technical reasons for which government services bear responsibility. Contrary to what has been said, this is not a vindictive state out to get you," Neophytou remarked, referring to recent press reports.

    But the minister also warned that measures would be taken against persons found to have knowingly delayed renewing their driving licence.

    On behalf of the Transport Department, the minister apologised for any inconvenience and urged people who had not yet received their letters to contact their local office to speed things up.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Price of milk expected to side slightly

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE cost of milk is expected to rise slightly on Monday when regulation of its price ends.

    Consumers Protection Department head George Mitides said yesterday he expected the price to go up as both milk producers and shop owners have been complaining for the past year that prices were too low.

    Mitides believes there will not be a significant increase in the price. He recalled that the price of lamb has remained the same for the past 10 years after it was liberalised. Cypriot milk is currently the cheapest in Europe, he said.

    "Milk here is sold at 45 cents per litre while in Greece and Portugal a litre costs 55 cents and in other European counties it costs more than 65 cents."

    Cement will remain the only product sold at a fixed price.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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