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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, April 10, 2002


  • [01] The junk food generation: how can we reverse the trend?
  • [02] British team in Akrotiri on turtle project
  • [03] Our children are getting a poisoned chalice
  • [04] EAC looking for partners to branch out into telecoms market
  • [05] Probe ordered into biker's death in police chase
  • [06] Talks resume for round three
  • [07] Focus on asylum policy
  • [08] We asked for Luton first, Helios insist
  • [09] Cyprus to host UN Middle East meeting
  • [10] Traffic overhaul plan: godsend or nightmare?

  • [01] The junk food generation: how can we reverse the trend?

    By Alexia Saoulli

    MOTHERS nowadays do not even bother to peel carrots for their children because it is too much hassle, a Nicosia paediatrician said yesterday.

    This comment comes a day after the publication of the results of a Laiki sponsored six-year study on Cypriot children, aged between 11 and 12.

    The study showed that 10 per cent of these children had seven to 11 per cent of their arteries blocked, and that their diet and physical condition showed they were predisposed to heart conditions, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

    But, Dr. Galina Andreou told the Cyprus Mail, these results could be reversed with a well balanced diet and exercise, two of the most important factors in keeping children healthy.

    "The family has an extremely important role to play," she said, "because it is within the home that children will pick up good or bad habits. In this day and age, fast food seems to be what kids live on - from McDonald's to pizzas."

    Andreou said she believed that diet was the main problem, and that snacking on crisps and chocolates was detrimental to children's cholesterol levels.

    "Whether cholesterol is hereditary or acquired," she said, "is not yet fully known. However, if someone has a predisposition to high cholesterol, he or she can control it with healthy eating habits. But, the way kids are eating in Cyprus today, they run a huge risk of affecting their metabolism and increasing their cholesterol, hereditary or not."

    She said that the way society was structured nowadays, with both parents working, also influenced children's eating habits, since they were not being disciplined to eat healthily.

    "Both parents are out of the house, working long hours, and have a number of different responsibilities," she said. "They don't have time to cook any more and so opt for the easy option of ready-made dinners or takeaway, instead of spending time to prepare pulses, or making a salad to accompany some grilled fish."

    "I keep hearing parents say, 'but my son or daughter doesn't like fruit or beans'. What does this mean? How can a child not like something? If you teach them to eat properly from an early age, then they will learn to like fruit and vegetables. But instead, I find parents giving their children the option of getting takeaway if they refuse to eat what's been put in from of them.

    "Things are so much easier, and children are getting away with filling their bellies with junk food purely because their parents do not discipline them or have the strength to resist giving in to them."

    Andreou added it was inexcusable for children not to eat fruit in a country as plentiful as Cyprus.

    "They don't even eat carrots because it's too much hassle for their mothers' to peel them," she said. "The most they do eat is an orange or a banana, and if that, since they normally snack on cheese pies for breakfast, followed by a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar in the afternoon."

    To make things worse, she said, children could no longer be seen playing outdoors, walking to school or riding bicycles.

    "They are driven to school in the morning," she said, "picked up and then taken to private lessons until late in the evening. When they eventually get home, whatever free time they have is spent in front of the television or computer".

    Andreou said the reality of children's lives today was fatty foods and minimal exercise. She said parents even complained that their children were overexerted during physical education classes at school.

    "Everything is out of sorts as far as children's daily living is concerned. They don't eat properly, definitely don't exercise enough and a lot of the time they eat a lot more than they should be.

    "A healthy diet and exercise would, in my opinion, make a tremendous difference to the health problems they face," she said.

    But unfortunately, she pointed out, family dynamics had changed, and in Cyprus parents adhered to their children's demands rather than putting them on the right track and disciplining them.

    "How are kids ever going to learn to eat properly if they are not taught at home/" she asked.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] British team in Akrotiri on turtle project

    A TEAM of experts from the UK is currently in Cyprus to work on a project at Shipwreck Cove near the southern coastal village of Akrotiri, to stop nests of endangered turtles becoming waterlogged and eggs failing to hatch.

    The team, which is being hosted by the British Forces in Cyprus as part of its Turtlewatch scheme, comprises a dozen volunteers from Clark MacTavish Ltd, a civilian land use and environmental consultancy based in Cumbria.

    Major Bill Farrell, who is in charge of Turtlewatch, said: "last year we had 26 nests on this beach and released over 1,500 live hatchings of both the Loggerhead and the highly endangered Green Turtle."

    He added that the specific beach "plays quite a critical role in retaining these species and we believe represents about ten per cent of known recorded turtle nests in Cyprus".

    The experts are constructing a brushwood fence in a bid to prevent sand erosion on the beach, which is used as a breeding ground by the turtles. They are also improving the existing fencing on the beach.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Our children are getting a poisoned chalice

    By Alexia Saoulli

    A CHANGE in societal values has had a huge impact on families, a Limassol psychologist/psychotherapist said yesterday.

    In this day and age, said Anna Galati, societies not only promote success, but demand it in all areas of life, as well as the need to show off that success to others. This change in values and mix up in priorities has trapped parents, she said, explaining why some are unable to set down rules and boundaries for their children, including their dietary habits.

    "It's not that parents do not love their children, or are indifferent to their needs," she said, "it's just that they want to give them the best of everything and think that by spending a lot of time working and giving them all the material possessions they want - including chocolates - they will make them happy."

    Galati said that a lot of the time children did not need everything they were given, since fulfilling their emotional needs was more important for a parent to remember.

    "Parents want to give their children the best they can offer, and so spend their lives working and trying to satisfy them with quantitative goods, thinking that this is what is best. However, children do not need all of that. It would be more important for instance, if instead of working three jobs to buy his son a new pair of trainers, a father spent some quality time with him and cultivated their father/son relationship," she said.

    "But we live in a fast-paced society, where people do not have time to stop and think and do some soul searching," she said. "We are always rushing around, surrounded by material possessions and the desire to acquire even more. This over-consumption is a product of today's world, and I do not only mean food or material goods," she said, pointing out that there was a general trend to do everything to excess.

    "What's more, we forget that recreational play is very important in our children's development and keep them indoors studying or at private lessons. Thus unknowingly we pass on this burning desire to succeed onto them at a very impressionable age," Galati said.

    Parents, she added, were no longer aware that the responsibility to discipline their children lay with them. They are so bombarded by everything around them that it is hard for them to define what is good and what is harmful for their children.

    But, she said, at the same time, parents had the necessary information to ensure their children's health at their fingertips.

    "The knowledge is there," Galati said, "and is accessible if they look for it. It is easy to find out what you should and should not feed your child". However, neglecting their children's dietary habits could also be a reflection of the general emotional neglect in their own lives.

    She said that the media and government both had a role to play in protecting children's health from deteriorating.

    "The government should see to it that school canteens offer more fruit than chocolates and high processes foods," she said, "more should also be done through the media to sensitise the public, highlighting such issues so that parents and the society as a whole are kept informed." Only this way, Galati said, could there be a change in trend.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] EAC looking for partners to branch out into telecoms market

    THE ELECTRICITY authority (EAC) is in talks with three firms in its search for a strategic partner to offer telecoms services in a deregulated market, spokesman Tassos Roussos said yesterday.

    "We are negotiating with a shortlist of three companies," he said.

    The EAC has not named the companies. They were taken from a list of five which expressed interest earlier this year and are understood to have primarily European operations.

    The authority plans to conclude negotiations by the end of June and then agree on the creation of a joint venture with one or two of them.

    "It is an open agenda... we are looking at everything, mobile telephony, transfer of data and fixed telephony," Roussos said.

    Concluding negotiations by June would give the authority time to get a joint venture off the ground in preparation to launch a bid for the mobile telecoms market, the first sector to be deregulated.

    Cyprus is planning to invite bids for mobile telephone licences by October as it moves towards fully deregulating its telecoms services now controlled by CyTA, the state-backed monopoly.

    The island is compelled to liberalise the services as it edges closer towards European Union membership.

    The island's Telecoms Regulator published a public consultation document two weeks ago seeking feedback from interested parties on the telecoms market, a precursor to inviting bids for licences.

    Officials have said that world leader Vodafone and Greek mobile operator CosmOTE made inquiries about the Cypriot mobile phone market in the past.

    As CyTA is set to lose its position as the sole provider of telephony services, the EAC, which is a semi-government corporation, will see its own role as the only electricity provider also disappear.

    Branching out into telecoms would not only utilise an extensive network of optical fibres but also utilise to the maximum the engineering skills of its workforce, Roussos said.

    The authority secured parliamentary consent last year, which would allow it to expand into other sectors beyond the traditional scope of business. It has also expressed an interest in creating water desalination plants - a key asset on an island which suffers severe water droughts. (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Probe ordered into biker's death in police chase

    By Melina Demetriou

    JUSTICE Minister Nicos Koshis is to launch an internal investigation into the case of a young biker who was killed in a road accident last year after being chased by police for not wearing a helmet.

    The subject was raised by AKEL deputy Kikis Yiangou yesterday in a meeting of the House Human Rights Committee called to discuss human rights' violations by the police.

    Yiangou described the police 'Z' force as "head hunters on motorbikes chasing the offenders."

    The 'Z' force is the Traffic Police's rapid reaction group.

    Yiangou held police responsible for the death of 20-year-old Christodoulos Christodoulou, who was last year killed in a road accident after being chased by a 'Z' patrol.

    Yiangou recalled that a five-member team had spotted Christodoulou on a motorbike not wearing a helmet at a petrol station. He claimed the team could have stopped the biker there, but had let him ride off before chasing him through two nearby villages.

    The man eventually lost control of his bike and got killed.

    "The 'Z' team's irresponsible action to chase Christodoulou to death is in fact illegal. They had no information that the man's driving or behaviour constituted a threat to public safety so they were not allowed to pursue him," Yiangou argued.

    The AKEL deputy described the members of the team in question as " accessories to a crime" and asked the police to name them in public.

    Deputy Attorney-general Petros Klerides told the Committee he had suggested that the Cabinet appoint a criminal investigator into the Christodoulou case, but his proposal had been rejected.

    Yiangou also referred to another case in which a group of 'Z' members had allegedly arrested a young man, then ran over his feet on their motorbikes causing him permanent damage.

    The deputy went on to claim that the Police Chief's son had recently been arrested for speeding and driving a motorbike without wearing a helmet and without having a licence or insurance cover. He claimed police later dropped all charges against him.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis, who was at the meeting, pledged to investigate the allegations, but criticised Yiangou for having "turned into an interrogator and a judge."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Talks resume for round three

    THE THIRD round of Cyprus talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash got under way yesterday, a day after UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto urged the two leaders to move forward.

    Yesterday's meeting, the 23rd since Clerides and Denktash began their face- to-face talks on January 16, lasted around an hour.

    Clerides was accompanied by Attorney-general Alecos Markides, Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros and Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou. No statements were made after the meeting.

    However, Denktash was yesterday quoted as saying it would be impossible to continue with the talks under pressure to find a solution by June. He was responding to De Soto's statements that this was still the ultimate target date for reaching an agreement.

    Denktash was the first to put forward the date, but was quoted as saying that when he mentioned the date he believed some serious progress could be achieved before June.

    He said the Cyprus issue was not a soccer game and that the talks under way were extremely complex. The next meeting will take place on Friday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Focus on asylum policy

    CYPRUS' migration policy and the island's stance on the protection of refugees will come under the microscope this weekend during a seminar organised by the Immigrant Support Action Group (ISAG) and the British High Commission.

    The three-day seminar, entitled 'Migration and Asylum Policy', opens in Nicosia on Friday. It will include opening addresses by Attorney-general Alecos Markides and British High Commissioner Lyn Parker, according to a provisional agenda.

    "The seminar will provide an invaluable opportunity to consider current practice in a range of countries, including in particular Cyprus, Britain and Greece, and to look ahead constructively to Cyprus' future needs," a statement by the High Commission said.

    "It is important for both the EU and for Cyprus that Cyprus plays a full part in this debate, particularly given its geographical location," Parker added in a separate announcement.

    The seminar is part of the EU accession series, a set of conferences and training courses to help Cyprus share in the issues of EU membership, according to High Commission spokesman Jonathan Allan, who gave a joint news conference with ISAG representatives yesterday.

    Allan said the seminar was not about "lecturing Cyprus" on what it should to as regards migration and asylum issues and that it should be looked on as a "sharing" experience.

    "This area of policy is a very important area for the EU and for Cyprus, which needs to develop its own policies, and if Cyprus is going to get it right it has to be involved as a stake holder," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] We asked for Luton first, Helios insist

    By Jean Christou

    PRIVATE Cypriot airline Helios said yesterday that it, and not Eurocypria, had been the first to apply to the government for a scheduled licence for Britain's Luton airport.

    In an announcement, the company said they were therefore entitled to receive the licence, which will be discussed by the Cabinet tomorrow.

    The three-man ministerial committee for air transport last week decided to give the route to Helios when they were discussing the distribution of licences for national carrier Cyprus Airways (CY), its charter firm Eurocypria, Helios and Russian carrier Aerotrans.

    CY sources said that Eurocypria had been first to apply for the Luton route and that the national carrier had been angered by the decision of the ministerial committee.

    But Helios spokesman Andreas Christodoulides said yesterday: "We have recently heard some rumours that we were not the first to apply for the route so we should not be allowed the privilege. This is a mistake. Helios was first to apply for the route."

    The ministerial committee decided last Friday that since Gatwick, Heathrow and Stanstead had already given to CY interests, it would give Luton to Helios in order to give a fair chance to new airlines, and not to show any discrimination against private companies.

    The move to open up air transport is part of the island's harmonisation process with the EU, and will eventually result in full liberalisation. The process is being moved along slowly in order to give Cyprus Airways a chance to prepare itself for the additional competition.

    Christodoulides said all his company, the island's first private airline, was asking for was a level playing field - "which is currently not the case".

    "We also want to help the national carrier prepare itself for when the airline industry is totally liberalised," he added. "How will they be ready to compete when they have a problem with Helios getting Luton?"

    Christodoulides also pointed out that the EU harmonisation competition chapter still remained to be closed. "Once this chapter is also covered, whether the national carrier is ready or not, the airline industry will open up and with Cyprus being a major tourist, education and conference attraction there's no telling how traffic will increase," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Cyprus to host UN Middle East meeting

    THE UNITED Nations international meeting in support of Middle East Peace will take place in Nicosia, on April 16 and 17, followed on April 18 by the UN Non Governmental Organisation Meeting in Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

    During the International Meeting, which will focus on promoting support for international efforts to contain the current crisis, and restoring the political process, experts will assess the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, review various initiatives aimed at resuming the peace dialogue, and discuss the urgency of addressing the rood causes of the conflict.

    The meeting will be divided into three parts: "The occupied Palestinian territory since September 2000", "International efforts at containing the crisis", and "The urgency of ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state".

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides will deliver the opening address of the meeting, while statements will be made by the UN officials and representatives of governments and intergovernmental organisations.

    Eminent personalities, including high-level officials from the host government and the Palestinian Authority, international renowned experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of the UN members and observers, representatives of the UN system and other intergovernmental organisations, the academic community, representatives of non-governmental and other civil society organisations, as well as the media, have been invited to attend the meeting.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Traffic overhaul plan: godsend or nightmare?

    By Alex Mita

    AMBITIOUS government plans for a major road network revamp in the Nicosia district and city centre with the introduction of one-way systems and bus lanes have raised eyebrows over whether they can actually cure the city's ailing traffic system.

    The plans are in response to the massive increase in the number of vehicles in the capital in the last few years. A study submitted by G.C. Consultancies and Austrian company Axis Ingenieurleistungen suggests the implementation of a one-way system on major avenues in the city centre, as well as the introduction of extra traffic and bus lanes and improvement of traffic within the walls.

    The study, which also involves the Ayios Dhometios, Engomi, Lakatamia, Latsia, Yeri and Anthoupolis areas, also takes into account the effects that major projects like the new general hospital will have on traffic to and from the city centre.

    Once approved, the project will begin with the refurbishment of the peripheral street network and entrances to the city and construction of three special parking zones, controlled by special intelligent systems.

    Roads leading to the University will be widened to ease traffic, and bus lanes will be introduced to accommodate school busses.

    But although the study could prove to be a massive relief to daily traffic jams, critics say the havoc caused during lengthy construction work will virtually offset any long-term gains, while the lack of public transport is forcing commuters into cars.

    Experts point out there has been a steady decline of people using public service. In 1980, the number of bus commuters was 13 million whereas in the year 2000, only 2.5 million people travelled to and from the city by bus. On the other hand, the number of cars has increased, from 120,000 in1980, to 375,000 in 2000.

    However, George Hadjicostas, the Director of G.C. Consultancies, told the Cyprus Mail that the project would be completed in a relatively short period of time, since the only changes made to the network would be mainly marking and rearranging traffic lights and signals.

    'There is nothing problematic about the project", Hadjicostas said. "The only problem is for the public to accept it."

    Minister of Communication and Works Averoff Neofytou told the Mail the project would have to be approved before any one should start worrying.

    However, it remains to be seen whether the new system will be followed to the letter by Cypriot drivers, without continuous enforcement from traffic police.

    Neophytou is confident that Cypriot drivers will not find the new system too hard to follow. "Cypriot drivers are adaptable, as long as they understand that the government means business".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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