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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-22

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, March 22, 2002


  • [01] Clerides downbeat on talks prospects
  • [02] Cypriots trust their institutions more than anyone else in Europe
  • [03] Cyprus too dependent on tourism, report warns
  • [04] House rules Grivas case closed
  • [05] Focus on water
  • [06] Top dogs line up before the judges
  • [07] London Cypriot dies of BSE
  • [08] Limassol police probe suspected stolen car ring

  • [01] Clerides downbeat on talks prospects

    By Jennie Matthew

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides said yesterday he was not optimistic about the outcome of ongoing settlement talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Speaking after receiving the new Portuguese Ambassador, Clerides said: "Prospects in the direct talks do not appear optimistic."

    His comments followed hot on the heels of a Dutch newspaper report in which EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen branded Denktash a "loser" if he failed to change tack on the Cyprus question.

    But US Envoy to Cyprus, Thomas Weston, yesterday struggled to maintain an upbeat attitude after his meeting with the president.

    Weston reiterated that the UN Security Council thought a settlement by June was feasible, and that "we think it ought to be done".

    "We are all aware of the other timing considerations, which play a role here, both internal to Cyprus and external to Cyprus," the American envoy said.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said Weston had reminded Clerides that "time [for a solution] is running out", and urged him to "accelerate the process and make it more effective".

    But Papapetrou said acceleration was only possible if the Turkish side abandoned their "unacceptable positions".

    "This process should not be used as a podium from which either side reiterates its well-known positions, but as a forum for substantive negotiations on the aspects of the Cyprus problem, within the parameters defined by UN Security Council resolutions," said a statement issued by Clerides and read by Papapetrou.

    Weston crossed into the occupied areas for an appointment with Denktash after his meeting at the Presidential Palace.

    But according to an interview published on Wednesday in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, Verheugen thinks Denktash is fully aware that he is in a strategic dilemma, hemmed in by the international community, a pro-EU electorate and an unemployment rate of 50 per cent amongst Turkish Cypriots.

    Although Ankara holds the key to a solution, the Commissioner said it was not enough for Turkey to press a button and get things moving, refusing to dismiss Denktash as a puppet ruler.

    He said despite a serious effort towards democratisation in Turkey, the country had a long way to go to reach the European model of democracy and the rule of law.

    Clerides nevertheless reiterated his commitment to the talks: "Despite the difficulties, we remain fully committed to the search of a settlement which will safeguard the prosperity and welfare of all Cypriots in a united and federal Cyprus, free from occupation troops and illegal settlers, where the human rights of all Cypriots are respected," said Clerides.

    Portuguese Ambassador Antonio Manuel Moreira Tanger Correa described Clerides as "a leader capable of solving the conflict."

    Face to face talks started on January 16 under the aegis of UN special adviser Alvaro de Soto.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Cypriots trust their institutions more than anyone else in Europe

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRIOTS have more faith in their government and parliament than any of the EU applicant countries or member states, the latest Eurobarometer reveals.

    Only 38 per cent of EU citizens tend to trust their national governments, 40 per cent their national parliaments and 17 per cent their political parties. Overall, the 13 applicant countries show a similar trend, but Cyprus tops the list for faith in government and parliament and to a lesser extent the political parties.

    Parliament, however, garnered the most trust, with 71 per cent, while 65 per cent trusted their government and 29 per cent the political parties. Half of all Cypriots also trust the civil service. They also trust the army and the Church more than the police, which came in third with 66 per cent support compared to the army's 86 per cent and the Church's 80 per cent. Again the figures were all higher than the EU and applicant country averages in all categories.

    Cyprus ranks higher than all the applicant countries in terms of wealth, which the Eurobarometer linked to the current life satisfaction in applicant countries. In the member states life satisfaction currently averages out at 83 per cent and only Slovenians, with 85 per cent, are more satisfied than EU citizens. Life satisfaction in Cyprus is 77 per cent, broken down into 19 per cent who are very satisfied, 59 per cent who are fairly satisfied, 19 per cent who are not very satisfied and four per cent not at all satisfied.

    The Eurobarometer also used a basket of 14 consumer goods to measure prosperity among applicant countries: these included a colour television, an automatic washing machine, a still camera, a mobile phone, hi-fi equipment, a car, and a video recorder. Cyprus topped the list with 8.1 of the 14 listed commodities followed by Slovenia with 8.0, Malta 7.9, and the Czech Republic 7.5.

    Almost half of Cypriots feel life has improved over the past five years compared to 32 per cent who feel it's the same and 19 per cent who believe it's got worse. Their outlook for the next five years is also positive with 46 per cent believing their lives will get better, compared to 14 per cent who think it won't and 32 per cent who feel things will remain the same.

    But the citizens of most of the applicant countries, including Cyprus, are concerned that their economies will worsen in the next 12 months. Forty eight per cent of Cypriots are worried about this issue, while 18 per cent think the situation will get better. Cypriots are also worried about unemployment, with 44 per cent believing the job situation will worsen in the year to come.

    Cypriots scored low on newspaper readership, with only 23 per cent reading a paper every day compared to 72 per cent who watch a news bulletin on television every day. Only one per cent of Cypriots never watch the news, compared to 27 per cent who never read a newspaper.

    According to the survey, more confidence is placed in television and radio news, with 70 per cent having faith in what they see and hear compared to only 44 per cent believing newspapers.

    Cyprus scored high in terms of national identity with national pride running at 93 per cent, just behind Malta's 96 per cent. Some 60 per cent of Cypriots feel 'somewhat' European while 34 per cent preferred to stick to their national identity only. Two per cent considered themselves to be European 'only'. O

    For most Cypriots, joining the EU means being able to study in an EU country, having the right to move permanently to any country in the bloc and having the right to work in the EU. The island came tops in believing that the more countries join the bloc, the more peace and security there will be.

    Sixty two per cent also tend to trust the EU and if there was a referendum tomorrow would vote yes compared to 25 per cent who would vote no.

    Cypriots had the highest number of respondents, 68 per cent, who pledged support for EU decision-making on some issues such as welfare, fighting poverty and unemployment and the environment, but fear that joining will lead to an increase in organised crime, the loss of the island's language and its identity and culture.

    Eurobarometer surveyed 1,000 people in each applicant country, except Malta and Cyprus, where 500 were polled.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Cyprus too dependent on tourism, report warns

    By Jennie Matthew

    A NEW STUDY on the prognosis of the Cyprus economy presses the need to develop the island into a regional medical, academic and financial centre to offset the fatal consequences of an economy over-dependent on tourism.

    Branding the economy "dynamic but with problems", the Research and Development Centre at Nicosia's Intercollege stressed the need to broaden the basis of economic activity in order to compensate for the problems of a lopsided economy and to maximise the advantages of liberalisation.

    Academics at the department based their findings on economic methodology and interviews with finance professionals and economists over a six-month period between June 2001 and February 2002.

    On the basis of their calculations, tourism contributed to 22 per cent of GDP in 2001 and a dangerously high 50 per cent of the nation's total foreign earnings reserve, as the number of tourists has more than doubled over the last 13 years to 2.73 million last year.

    Fears of market distortions in the wake of privatisation, difficulties over the balance of payments and the commercial deficit, shackled to the lurking danger of inflation, could all cause headaches and devalue the Cyprus pound.

    As a percentage of GDP, state expenditure has grown 20.38 per cent, to 20.38 per cent and the proportion of public debt has jumped 37.18 per cent to 98.55 per cent of GDP.

    The authors outline worries that the country hasn't fully prepared itself for onset of European Monetary Union two years after accession, as well as increased competition and mergers at all levels.

    Their antidote is to focus on building up the island as a centre for excellence in the eastern Mediterranean, primarily in the fields of education, medicine and international business.

    The report calls on the government to implement all European Union harmonisation requirements to the letter, improve efficiency and check the rising proportion of government expenditure to GDP.

    They also address the need to re-mould state fiscal policy to steer the country through the momentous structural changes and minimise prospects of devaluation.

    "We need to reassess the role of the state as a strategic, social and arbitration power," the report said.

    Pointing to Turkey and Argentina, where the legacy of enormous public deficits spelt disaster for liberalisation schemes, the authors ask policy makers to look to the successes and lessons of the Greek economy between 1990 and 2000, leading up to the country's successful adoption of the euro.

    The report was co-ordinated by Professor Andreas Theophanous. Theodoros Pelayides, Spyros Hadjidakis, Christoforos Christoforou, Lysandros Avraamides and Michalis Hailis also contributed.

    Their findings mirror similar warnings from the EU that Cyprus is too dependent on tourism, that public debt is a growing concern and that the government needs to encourage a broader-based economy.

    Theophanou's latest book, European Cyprus: Constitutional Structure, Economy and Society, Accession and Solution Scenarios, goes on sale today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] House rules Grivas case closed

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE HOUSE Defence Committee yesterday put an end to the long-standing saga surrounding allegations that conscripts had been ordered to shout slogans in support of late General Grivas.

    The claims, made by a National Guard conscript over a month ago, have been dismissed by a Defence Ministry investigation.

    The conscript made the complaints to his parents, a television channel and to members of AKEL, who informed their party leader and House chairman Demetris Christofias about the case.

    Grivas led the EOKA struggle against British colonialism and for union with Greece (enosis) between 1955 and 59. After independence, he became commander of the National Guard and led its forces during the period of inter-communal strife but was forced off the island in 1967. He returned clandestinely in 1971 and launched a terror campaign against President Makarios through the EOKA B far right group, which gained notoriety for murdering communists and Turkish Cypriots.

    Christofias called for an investigation into the case, which found the claims were unfounded. But Christofias insisted on the validity of the allegations, while the House Committee decided to run a parallel investigation into the matter.

    But after a meeting held behind closed doors yesterday, the Committee declared the case closed.

    "We deem that further discussion of this matter will only hurt the morale of the army at a critical time for the nation," Committee chairman Yiannakis Omirou told reporters.

    "The Committee decided unanimously to put an end to this matter. It would be unthinkable to return for any reason to a horrendous past when the National Guard was used to divide the people in two and promote antinational goals," he stressed.

    Omirou further suggested that, "the National Guard should act as a bridge between the people and the army and be a symbol of our struggle for freedom and democracy."

    Christofias' response was diplomatic: "No one is withdrawing any claims or accusations and the discussion ends here. DISY and AKEL have stated their positions and AKEL has also submitted evidence regarding the allegations."

    "The case is closed as everyone has agreed that the occurrence of such incidents in the National Guard should be prevented," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Focus on water

    By Alexia Saoulli

    WITH the dawning of this year's World Day of Water, Cyprus will be marking the day with its dams fuller than they have been in years.

    The United Nations General Assembly has declared March 22 the World Day for Water, in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Governments are invited to devote the day to concrete activities such as the promotion of public awareness through the publication and diffusion of documentaries and the organisation of conferences and seminars related to the conservation and development of water resources and the implementation of recommendations by UN environmental schemes.

    In Cyprus, the Nicosia Water Board will be hosting a function at Skali in Aglandja, Nicosia at 7pm. The programme will kick off with a brief opening speech by the President of the Water Board's Governing Council, Argyri Papanastasiou, followed by a 10 minute welcome by Agriculture Minister, Costas Themistocleous. After this, an Athens University professor of Chemistry and Environment, Michail Skoullo will give a lecture on 'Water and the Environment'. A 20-minute short film will then be shown on the development of the Nicosia Water Board.

    In his message, United Nations Secretary-general Kofi Annan said: "The theme of this year's observance of World Day for Water - 'Water for Development' - reflects the fundamental place of water in sustaining life and conserving the environment.

    "An estimated 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, 2.5 billion people have no access to proper sanitation, and more than 5 million people die each year from water-related diseases - 10 times the number killed in wars, on average, each year. All too often, water is treated as an infinite free good. Yet even where supplies are sufficient or plentiful, they are increasingly at risk from pollution and rising demand. By 2025, two thirds of the world's population is likely to live in countries with moderate or severe water shortages. Fierce national competition over water resources has prompted fears that water issues contain the seeds of violent conflict."

    But the Vice President of the Water Board, Nicos Zambakidis, told the Cyprus Mail that although other countries might face future conflicts over water, Cyprus would never face such risks, nor was there any chance of the island ever resembling Ethiopia.

    "Ever since we built the desalination plants," he said, "water has been plentiful. Unless the water runs out in the sea, we are fine. But if that were to happen, the whole world would perish, not just us".

    He added that although not everyone was in agreement with desalinated water, it was a necessary and beneficial step in ensuring everyone had enough water.

    "I don't think there is anyone out there who doesn't want to wash," he said, "or that doesn't need water to drink".

    Zambakidis said that the dams yesterday were reported to be 52 per cent full, in other words they contained 144 million cubic meters.

    "This is very positive," he said, "compared to last year when there were only 62 million cubic meters in the dams". But he warned that this water was not limitless, nor could we rely on future rains, as Cyprus had a known history of plentiful rainfall every 10 years.

    "In other words, it could be 2012 before we have this much rain again," he said.

    The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed next year the 'International Year of Freshwater'.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Top dogs line up before the judges

    SEVEN hundred and fifty dogs will be presented at this year's international Dog Show in Nicosia. Sixty different breeds will be included in the show, some of which are Cyprus and International prizewinners.

    The Cyprus Kennel Club is organising the International Dog Show, for the fifth year running, on Saturday and Sunday at the Cyprus International Conference Centre in Nicosia. The event starts at 8am on each day.

    The show is in collaboration with the International Kennel Club Federation, who will also send approved judges to determine the finest canines on show.

    Cyprus Kennel Club vets will also be on hand to ensure that all the four- legged competitors have their medical records with them, listing the necessary vaccinations, a prerequisite in competitions of this level.

    All 750 dogs will be classed into 10 large groups depending on their size and breed.

    Each breed will then be classed into six more groups: puppies from six-nine months old; young dogs from nine-18 months old; young dogs from 15 months and up; champion winners, working dogs and veteran dogs from the age of eight years and up.

    After all the winners have been chosen from the six groups, a winner will be chosen from the entire breed group.

    The grand finale will then be a competition to determine which of all group winners is the overall winner of the dog show.

    This event is open to the public. For more information tel: 22-677488.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] London Cypriot dies of BSE

    A CYPRIOT man who lived in London has died of mad cow disease, it was reported at the House yesterday.

    The family of the 21-year old is originally from Droushia in the Paphos district and emigrated to Britain in 1959, DIKO deputy Nicos Pittokopitis said.

    The man was buried in his village on Wednesday.

    House Agriculture Committee chairman Christos Mavrokordatos of AKEL said Cyprus health authorities had taken all the necessary measures against the spread of BSE.

    "Cypriot animals are considered to be healthy and their meat is often exported. We must always be on alert but we must not panic," he advised.

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous said in an interview with CyBC yesterday that an experiment carried out by an American scientist indicated that BSE could affect not only cows' nervous system but also their muscles.

    "The European Union's Scientific Committee is looking into the matter with some reservations and will inform us of its conclusions," the minister said.

    Cyprus spends 1.5 million a year in order to implement measures to prevent the disease from spreading to Cyprus, "but if it emerges that the disease can also affect animals' muscles then everything changes," he admitted.

    Checks for BSE are currently carried out only in cows' brains.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Limassol police probe suspected stolen car ring

    TWO LIMASSOL men were yesterday remanded in custody on suspicion of car theft while police think they are on the trail of a larger ring, which trades in stolen vehicles.

    Four people were arrested after police located a Toyota Rav 4, stolen from a car dealership last December, in the possession of a 51-year-old car salesman.

    The Rav was one of two unregistered cars worth around 17,000, stolen from G. Gregoriou Enterprises in Limassol.

    Police said the Rav was found carrying the licence plates and chassis number of a vehicle which had been destroyed in a bomb explosion on November 29 last year.

    The court heard that the 51-year-old said he had bought the car from another car salesman for 7,000.

    Police questioned the other man and he named 21-year-old Andreas Miliotis as the person who sold the Rav to him for 7,500.

    The 26-year-old told police that he paid Miliotis by giving him three other vehicles in exchange.

    When Miliotis was arrested he in turn named Panicos Prodromou, 26, as the initial owner of the car.

    According to Miliotis, Prodromou gave him the car in order to sell it for 7,000.

    Miliotis said that he has already given Prodromou 5,500.

    Prodromou denied any involvement in the case but was implicated by the owner of the destroyed car, Harris Rousis, who claimed that Prodromou bought his car after the bomb explosion for 2,500.

    Prodromou conceded buying the car but claimed that he had repaired and sold the car through a newspaper advertisement.

    Prodromou and Miliotis were remanded in custody for eight days while the 51- year-old car salesman was released.

    Police said they were looking for a third suspect as well as the second car that had been stolen last December.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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