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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-27
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
 Deputies slam government over treatment of inmates with mental problemsBy George Psyllides
THE HOUSE Human Rights Committee yesterday censured the government for its continued indifference to the needs of prison inmates suffering from mental problems.
In his opening speech, the Chairman of the Committee DIKO deputy Aristos Chrysostomou, said the government had ignored two reports by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which had stressed the need for an improvement in the health services provided to inmates.
The European Committee, first in 1993 and then in 1996, had visited the prison in Nicosia and pointed out that inmates suffering from psychological problems should be held and treated in special installations staffed with qualified personnel on a 24-hour basis.
Crysostomou listed a series of proposals, suggestions, even legislation, which he said were completely ignored by the government. This meant the handful of specialised personnel visiting the prison were overwhelmed and therefore unable effectively to treat the inmates, he said.
But although Chrysostomou stressed that government services were passing the buck over the issue, discussion kicked off with Health Minister Frixos Savvides and Justice Minister Nicos Koshis doing exactly that.
Savvides said there should be a special building that would house inmates suffering from problems, but revealed there was a disagreement between the ministries on the location of the installation.
Discussion went on and on, with the exchange of views on where it would be best to build the centre but with no one making any concrete suggestions.
Savvides said, however, that his ministry was ready to provide all the staff necessary whenever the centre was up and running.
AKEL deputy Eleni Mavrou told Savvides that the committee had been give assurances that construction of the centre was already under way somewhere within the prison compound.
Savvides conceded that the plans had been for the centre to be built in the prison, but they had changed after it emerged it would not be the best place.
But according to Cyprus Mail sources, the two ministries have agreed to build the centre inside the prison, a point not mentioned to the committee.
Instead, Koshis suggested to the committee that he and Savvides be given until the end of April to discuss the matter and come back with suggestions.
He added that his ministry had no objection to building the centre in the Nicosia prison.
DISY deputy Christos Pourgourides said that current standard practice was to send everyone to prison, even those that the courts had found to be insane.
The committee heard there was only one psychiatrist in the prison and he only treated inmates once a week.
Psychiatrist Louis Kariolou said there were around 85 Cypriots and 60 foreigners that needed treatment and it was quite impossible to do anything effective.
Christina Peta, a psychologist who works with inmates, said it was impossible to help them.
She said she saw six inmates per day and that she worked with around 100 to 150 who needed psychological support in coping with incarceration.
"Prison affects them all, including their families; if we don't help them not to return to prison, the state will be paying for them indefinitely," she said.
Peta said inmates suffered from a variety of psychological problems depending on the time they had to spend in prison.
She revealed that those doing life - 12 in total - had no motivation whatsoever.
"How do we help them?" Peta said.
She told the committee about an inmate who didn't know how to tell his child he was going to die in prison.
Cyprus legislation provides that people convicted for life should serve life.
Koshis agreed that the life sentence should be looked into, but told the committee that another major problem faced by inmates was society itself, which scorned them.
He said that not many people were keen to hire former convicts, adding: "whatever we do for them they'll still feel like strangers out in society".
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Tourist dies in crashA 66-year-old English Cypriot tourist died in a road accident in Larnaca yesterday. The tourist, Theodosis Costis, was driving on the Larnaca to Kiti road at about 7.30pm when his rented car was in collision with a taxi coming in the opposite direction.
One of the passengers in the taxi was also seriously injured.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Denkash: Montenegro deal a model for CyprusBy Melina Demetriou
TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday a recent European Union- backed deal for a new union between Montenegro and Serbia offered a model for Cyprus.
Earlier this month, Montenegrin and Serbian leaders agreed to revamp the state into a loose union and name it Serbia and Montenegro. Either side can opt out after three years.
"The Montenegro model, this is an example that is close to our desires -- recognising each other and creating a unity," Denktash told reporters after meeting President Glafcos Clerides yesterday.
Clerides and Denktash conclude their second round of talks today.
They met for less than an hour yesterday in the presence of UN Secretary- general's special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.
De Soto leaves the island after today's concluding meeting and travels for consultations in Athens and Ankara before flying on to New York to brief UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan and the Security Council in early April.
Talks are expected to resume in the second week of April, once De Soto returns.
The open-ended talks began in mid-January. Mediators hope results can be achieved by June, ahead of the completion of Cyprus' EU accession negotiations and before Denktash undergoes heart surgery.
Recent weeks have seen gloom descend over the process, with little sign of the Turkish side budging from its oft-stated 'two states' position. Denktash's latest remarks will have done little to dispel the pessimism, as the Serbia-Montenegro deal provides for two totally separate states in all but name.
American President George W. Bush nevertheless welcomed the continuation of the talks process on Monday, expressing the hope they would lead to a solution.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark Greek Independence Day, Bush said: "We welcome the resumption of diplomatic talks on Cyprus and hope that they will lead to a final settlement that strengthens regional peace and stability."
A DELEGATION from the British House of Commons yesterday called on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to grasp the opportunity afforded to them by the ongoing peace talks.
"This is a moment of opportunity after such a long wait within the island. We hope that it will be grasped positively by both sides," said Labour MP Donald Anderson, chairman of the foreign affairs select committee.
Anderson was speaking after his delegation from the Commons committee met in Nicosia with Tassos Papadopoulos, chairman of the House European Affairs Committee.
Papadopoulos said he had received assurances that the House of Commons would approve Cyprus' EU membership, when national parliaments are called to ratify the treaty of accession for new members next year.
The delegation was later received by President Clerides.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Parties circle as presidential scenarios take formBy Melina Demetriou
A COALITION between AKEL, DIKO and possibly KISOS for next year's presidential elections yesterday appeared the most possible scenario, as DIKO ruled out the idea of co-operating with ruling DISY.
Parties have already started wheeling and dealing to form alliances ahead of the February 2003 elections.
DISY was yesterday left in political isolation with a coalition between opposition parties AKEL, DIKO and KISOS beginning to fall into place.
The name of DIKO chairman Tassos Papadopoulos tops a list of possible candidates discussed by the emerging alliance.
Leftwing AKEL secretary general and House president Demetris Christofias, socialist KISOS chairman Yiannakis Omirou and veteran KISOS politician Takis Hadjidemetriou are also possible candidates.
Meanwhile rightwing DISY faces a dilemma, having to decide between Attorney- general Alecos Markides and Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulides, both of whom are interested for the presidency.
Papadopoulos yesterday ruled out co-operation between his party and DISY.
"Our basic position is that the current government must be replaced because its policies, especially its domestic administration, are wrong. Therefore it would be a contradiction to consider forming a coalition with DISY, which supports this government," he said.
Replying to reporters' questions, the DIKO leader confirmed that his name "tops the list of possible candidates."
Papadopoulos was however adamant that opposition parties should first agree on a political framework before deciding the candidate for the elections, dismissing "efforts by some to impose their opinion and preconditions regarding a candidate."
"If some DIKO members have such an attitude they are wrong," he stressed, pointing to senior party officials who have refused to discuss names other than that of Papadopoulos.
Yet despite Papadopoulos' insistence his party would not co-operate with DISY, its leader Nicos Anastassiades yesterday continued efforts towards an alliance with the centre party.
"If they consider co-operating with a communist party (AKEL) then why rule out an alliance with us who are ideologically nearer to them?" Anastassiades wondered.
"It looks like some parties fail to receive the message sent by voters during the municipal elections," he argued, referring to the victory of DISY-backed Michalakis Zambelas, who beat the opposition coalition's hopeful Kypros Chrysostomides to be elected mayor of Nicosia.
Anastassiades hit back at a report published by AKEL mouthpiece Haravghi yesterday, charging "knives were drawn between Cassoulides and Markides."
"Just because the Kofinou slaughterhouse will close down, it does not mean Haravghi should must make predictions of fresh slaughters," Anastassiades said, suggesting: "they should worry about their own slaughterhouse because we don't have one."
"The AKEL leadership has told the party's faithful not to think," he sniped.
AKEL deputy Andros Kyprianou said yesterday that his party would announce the name of the presidential candidate it would support in June.
He said AKEL had already started to work on "a political proposal which will be soon tabled before the other opposition parties for discussion in order to come down to an agreement."
Kyprianou described Papadopoulos as "a possible and a strong candidate considered by AKEL bodies," adding there were other names on the cards such as that of Christofias and Omirou.
"We need to make an enormous effort to change the current administration and in order to succeed we need KISOS and the other small opposition parties on our side," Kyprianou stressed.
But KISOS was yesterday hesitant to make a commitment to either AKEL or DIKO.
"Co-operation with the other opposition parties is our main strategic policy," KISOS vice chairman Sophocles Sophocleous said.
"The three parties need to agree on a common strategy before deciding on a common candidate," he added.
Sophocleous did not rule out the possibility of his party contesting the first round of the elections independently.
According to Cyprus Mail information veteran socialist Takis Hadjidemetriou of KISOS has been proposed as a candidate by certain AKEL circles. However KISOS has not publicly supported Hadjidemetriou's candidacy.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Brace yourselves for some stormy weatherBy Alexia Saoulli
THUNDER, lightening, strong winds, rain and even snow are on the cards today and possibly tomorrow, Meteorological Service Head, Kyriakos Theofilou, warned yesterday.
But despite the gloomy weather that has shrouded the island since Monday, he could not predict whether the rainfall would last further into the spring.
"All I can say is, since Monday afternoon, the temperature has dropped because of low pressures centred around the western part of the island. Our predictions only stretch as far as five days ahead and are based on scientific methods and measurements. We do not make guesses in the meteorology department," he said.
Theofilou said that thick clouds would be forming in places around the island today, and that local rains were to be expected, as well as more light snowfall in the mountains.
"Storms cannot be ruled out," he added "and temperatures will average at 16- 18 degrees Centigrade, which is below this time of the year's average".
Theofilou warned motorists to beware over the next few days as sudden showers and hailstones could not be pinpointed to particular parts of the island, but would be sporadic and dangerous.
Although five centimetres of snow were recorded on Mount Olympus and three centimetres in Troodos Square, skiers should not get too excited, Theofilou said.
"If it does snow, it will be very slight," he said, adding that one metre of snow was out of the question.
But the upside of this rainy spell is that at 8am yesterday the meteorological service had measured 29.5 mm of rainfall overnight.
"In other words, 48 per cent of the month's average rainfall," Theofilou said, "and cumulatively, from October 1 until today, we have had 113 per cent of the island's average rainfall for this period."
Theofilou refused to comment whether the wet winter meant we'd be lining up for a scorching summer, saying such theories were not based on scientific evidence.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 CTO defends advertising campaign in face of 'sexist' caimsBy Alexia Saoulli
THE CTO yesterday defended an advertising campaign slammed in Ireland as "sexist and tacky".
Cyprus Tourism Officer Lefkos Phylactides would not comment on the specific ad, but said the campaign aimed to highlight the diversity that Cyprus had to offer.
The CTO came under fire this weekend in the Irish edition of the Sunday Mirror, when columnist Clare McKeon said an advertisement featuring a family arguing over where to go for their summer holidays was a "tacky" and "offensive piece of sexist advertising" that the CTO should be ashamed of.
But Phylactides said the advert was only trying to show the wide diversity the island had to offer to a whole host of holidaymakers.
"To be honest, I haven't actually heard this particular radio advertisement as it's new," he said, adding he had contacted Ireland and the CTO in London yesterday and was waiting for feedback.
"However, the idea of this ad stems from a general idea we have been using to promote Cyprus during this period, which uses the tag line: 'Cyprus: A whole world on a single island'," Phylactides said.
He said the general idea had been applied to ads in all media in a number of countries abroad.
"With this ad we are trying to show the wide diversity that Cyprus has to offer in a small place. The CTO believes that this is the comparative advantage that Cyprus has over other tourist destinations" he said, pointing out that other places might have antiquities, beaches, mountains or even monasteries, but that Cyprus had them all.
He said the idea of this particular radio advert concerned a family, where each and every member wanted to go somewhere different
"Some want to go to a beach, some want to go to a place for its culture, and some for natural beauty. The conclusion of the ad is: 'Why don't we go to Cyprus, which has it all'," he said.
"In other words it shows a family with different views and opinions, and our point is, come to Cyprus and you'll find a common denominator - a whole world on a single island."
But the Irish journalist describes the squabbling family slightly differently. She said the mother was "ranting about wanting to be in orange groves" while the kids are squealing. It's then up to the father, "sounding butch and manly - after all he is the only one with common sense and the authority - to announce: 'Oh, that's settled, it's got be Cyprus.'"
But Phylactides would not be goaded into commenting on McKeon's opinion.
"If the execution at the end of the day gave this reporter the impression that it was a sexist approach and tacky, then that is difficult to comment on, because it's based on personal interpretation and how sensitive a person is," he said.
"The CTO just wants to show the diversity the island offers, whether you want a lazy holiday lying on the beach for a fortnight or a 15-day activity holiday parasailing, water-skiing or mountain climbing, or you want to explore the history and culture of the eastern Mediterranean.
"This is the approach we have taken. To find a common denominator for all types of holidaymakers and how choosing Cyprus can make everyone happy."
Phylactides said the CTO had come up with the concept behind the adverts and that their global advertising agency, Bates Europe, then came up with the actual ad.
"This is a multinational company and deals with Germany, Ireland, the UK and America, not just any advertising agency," he said, pointing out that their TV spot in Germany had even received awards.
As for the approval for the radio ad, he said it had probably come from the CTO's offices in London, although he did not know.
"But," he stressed, "I believe people should hear the advert for themselves before endorsing one journalist's opinion that it is sexist and tacky. If after they've heard it they think so, then fair enough."
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Cyprus to take first step towards telecoms deregulationBy Michele Kambas
CYPRUS plans to open a public consultation by Friday into its plans to open its fixed-line and mobile telecoms service to competition, a precursor to inviting tenders for licences, the industry regulator said yesterday.
The process will involve getting feedback from the incumbent telecoms provider CyTA, prospective bidders and consumer groups on how the authorities should proceed with tenders, said Telecommunications Commissioner Vassos Pyrgos.
"The public consultation document will be published this week," Pyrgos told Reuters, adding the process would be open for around three weeks.
Cyprus, a frontrunner for European Union membership by 2004, has told Brussels it plans to deregulate its telecoms sector by January 2003. State monopoly CyTA currently controls the telecoms market, including mobile phone service to as much as 65 per cent of Cyprus's population.
Officials have said world leader Vodafone and Greek number one operator CosmOTE have made inquiries into the progress Cyprus is making in liberalising the sector.
The consultation document, a legal obligation of the state, will be published in the local and international press, possibly on Friday, the day the island's official gazette is published.
"There will be a series of questions, and then the feedback will go back to (government) consultants and us to decide what kind of tender procedure is to be adopted," said Pyrgos.
CyTA needs to prepare for deregulation by deciding on issues, such as interconnection charges with future operators, Pyrgos said.
Mobile telephony has penetrated to an estimated 60 to 65 per cent of the population of some 750,000, and unofficial estimates put CyTA's gross income between £24 million and £36 million per year.
The Commissioner, whose post is independent, was also scheduled to start consultations yesterday on establishing a detailed timetable for deregulation with the Communications Ministry.
Pyrgos said he was due to have a meeting with Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou later in the day. "We will try to decide on the timing of each step," he said.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Bishop slams cremation plansBy George Psyllides
PLANS to allow cremations in Cyprus are unlikely to get beyond the drawing board if the Church has its way, as a Bishop yesterday slammed the practice as alien and unorthodox.
Speaking before a meeting of the House Interior Affairs Committee, Bishop Vassilios of Trimithounta said the Church disagreed with cremation on theological and traditional grounds.
Vassilios said that in the West, the practice of cremation had been introduced for financial and psychological reasons.
"They wanted to wipe death out of their lives," he said.
"We, the Orthodox, wish, if possible to bury our dead in our homes," Vasilios added.
He said the proposal to introduce cremation meant introducing a foreign custom into local traditions through the back door.
"It is a shame for modern civilisations to want to make their dead disappear, people who gave to this world and are not even given a burial place," Vassilios said.
But DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis suggested that cremation should be offered to those who wanted it, arguing it was everyone's democratic right to choose how their body would be treated after death.
Matsakis said there was huge interest from neighbouring countries Egypt and Israel to bring bodies to Cyprus for cremation.
Legislation Commissioner George Stavrinakis said the state was looking into the whole issue, but said the government was not too keen on turning Cyprus into a regional cremation centre.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 OSCE on National Guard inspectionTHE National Guard is being inspected by an Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) delegation, which arrived yesterday to confirm the government's tally of reported military equipment. The OSCE applies the same practice for all EU member states and candidate countries for accession. They are all obliged to report the purchase and operation of any military equipment to the organisation.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Meet the new bi-communal groupBy Melina Demetriou
The Citizens' Movement for Re-unification and Co-existence yesterday stated its determination to bring the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot communities closer in its first news conference after it was founded two months ago.
"The Movement aims to contribute to all the efforts towards a just, peaceful and viable solution of the Cyprus Problem based on United Nations resolutions and the High Level Agreements and which will ensure Cyprus' entry to the European Union," Philippos Patouras, member of the Movement's secretariat, told the conference yesterday.
Turkish Cypriot journalists had been invited to yesterday's press conference but the north's administration stopped them from crossing to the south.
Patouras also outlined the group's plan to contribute towards the development and propagation of a culture of peaceful coexistence between Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and all the other ethnic groups in Cyprus.
"The re-unification of Cyprus cannot materialise unless an attempt is made to promote a culture of understanding, tolerance and co-existence," he stressed.
Stelios Georgiou, general coordinator of the Movement stated the means by which the group planned to achieve its objectives: "We intend to organise lectures, discussions, meetings, manifestations and demonstrations and issue articles and publications. We will also co-organise and support activities initiated by Greek and Turkish Cypriot organisations."
Intercollege Dean Nicos Peristianis, the group's Studies and Research Coordinator, said the group had asked the EU's support to conduct bi- communal studies.
"We want to conduct a study examining the effects that the EU accession will have on the Turkish Cypriot community," he said.
Peristianis noted that the Movement was planning an open discussion with citizens on the future of Cyprus "like the one the EU is holding with representations of European parties."
The Movement has already kicked off a campaign to bring Turkish and Greek Cypriot individuals from the same divided villages or towns in contact. Until now it has managed to bring more than two thousand people in contact.
Functioning as an autonomous body, the group is planning to cooperate with other Greek and Turkish Cypriot organisations, groups and political parties. It does not aim to substitute the role of other bi-communal groups or participate in political elections.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002