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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, April 12, 2002


  • [01] Farmers demo secures delay in fuel price rise
  • [02] Looking for a pet monkey or a pet python? Forget it
  • [03] Paphos: holiday resort or building site?
  • [04] House approves CyTA budget
  • [05] Cypriot ambassador joins controversial Serbian mayor for tobacco factory ceremony
  • [06] Klerides: CSE should be privatised
  • [07] Help disabled people work, deputies urge
  • [08] New bill 'makes everyone's a donor unless they opt out'
  • [09] Fireworks remand

  • [01] Farmers demo secures delay in fuel price rise

    By George Psyllides

    FUEL increases were put on hold yesterday after the government bowed to pressure from farmers' unions who vehemently oppose any increases unless some sort of arrangement is made to compensate them.

    The government was ready to submit to the House the regulations concerning the increases but the official carrying the hefty documents was turned back as soon as she set foot in the building after it had been decided to postpone any discussion at the House until next week.

    The decision was made during an afternoon meeting between party leaders and Trade and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis.

    After the meeting, Rolandis told reporters that the government would wait a week before submitting the regulations, giving time to parties and farmers' unions to iron out some sort of agreement.

    Rolandis said the week was needed to decide on the amount of the increases and the compensation that would be given to farmers for the fuel they use for farming purposes.

    The government was looking to raise fuel prices by four cents, an amount that would cover the 12 million paid by the government in subsidies to petroleum companies.

    The one week delay would cost the government 800,000, Rolandis said.

    Around 100 farmers gathered outside the House yesterday morning protesting about the planned increases.

    Farmers' unions oppose any increase in fuel prices, demanding state subsidies for fuel used in farming.

    The union leaders, who were heard by the House Agriculture Committee, urged deputies not to vote for the increases, saying that any "increase and price liberalisation would have destructive consequences for farming in general".

    The unions rejected a government proposal to increase pump prices by three cents per litre and distribute two to three million pounds back to the farmers in the form of grants.

    Committee Deputy Chairman Yiannakis Thoma assured farmers that they had the support of all its members adding that fuel increases could be the final blow for farmers, considering the many and long-standing problems they were faced with.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Looking for a pet monkey or a pet python? Forget it

    By Jean Christou

    THE VETERINARY Department said yesterday it was clamping down on import licences for exotic pets following an increasing demand for monkeys, snakes and other reptiles.

    Senior official Klitos Andreou said the veterinary services had learned its lessons in the past from being relaxed on the import of exotic animals and was also now subject to a host of international conventions for the protection of various species.

    "We are very concerned about some non-indigenous species and we are very strict about this," Andreou said.

    The importation of any non-indigenous species must comply with local animal welfare laws, the laws for the protection of the environment, the Washington Convention on dangerous species, the Convention on Biodiversity and the Berne Convention.

    The department has a special committee that examines all applications for import licences and uses all the legislation as a guideline.

    Last year, 341 dogs, nearly 250,000 tropical fish and over 3,000 exotic birds were imported into Cyprus. Snakes and lizards are also very much in demand, and applicants often ask for licences for pythons, piranhas and monkeys, which Andreou said would not be easily given to individuals or pet shops, but could be given for scientific reasons, or to wildlife parks, aquariums or the Limassol zoo. Such animals cannot be imported for the pleasure of individuals, for exploitation or if they pose a threat to local species.

    "We have had a lot of requests for snakes and other reptiles, which we turned down except for a few cases. We know that with parks, zoos and other organisations the animals will be kept in an enclosure and will be kept in good condition," he said.

    He said the department has learned from past experience that giving out licences for these types of pets to individuals could be disastrous.

    "We know someone we allowed to import a python and we found it in a restaurant with some visitors taking photos," Andreou said. "If you ask to import any pet and are granted a licence just to keep it at home for your own use but then you take it to a public place and exploit it, this is unacceptable for us. We don't want to repeat the mistake of over countries and end up with dancing bears."

    In another incident, Andreou said that three years ago the department had allowed someone to import 100 iguanas. "From our enquiries we found that only two survived," he said. "Shall we keep on with this situation? Shall we keep on with unjustified requests to import thousands and thousands of turtles and then you find them in the dams and then you find out that at the same time that the local turtles are now a limited number after the imported ones survived and dominated the local ones."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Paphos: holiday resort or building site?

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THE CYPRUS Tourism Organisation (CTO) said yesterday Paphos had failed to learn the lessons of Limassol, repeating road planning mistakes and causing misery to tourists.

    Phili Katsouris, Director of Tourism at the CTO, admitted Paphos was now going through the same roadwork mayhem as Limassol had last year. And just to pile on the misery, Onisitos Kargotis, General manager of Kissos Hotel in Paphos, said he had received "a huge number of complaints from guests about the construction of a new hotel at the Tomb of the Kings site."

    A combination of road works due to the Sewage Board programme and construction work at the site of the Tomb of the Kings have had a negative impact on visitors to the area at a time when tourism is still suffering the after-effects of the events of September 11.

    For Kargotis, it is a daily problem. "Every morning, guests come down and ask to change their room." The noise, dust and unsightliness of the work has forced guests to forgo the privilege of a view of the tomb in favour of quieter rooms on the other side of the hotel. Guests usually pay extra for the view of the ancient site, but rooms on the other side of the hotel are now full and guests wishing to be re-located away from the side facing the works are being disappointed.

    The construction of the new seafront hotel has led to the local beach being used as a dumping ground for the mountain of waste from building work. Yesterday, concerned officials from the CTO sent an investigator to the site and were assured by construction officials that the waste would be removed "within days."

    The problems in Paphos has been exaggerated by the programme of road works through the city, carried out by the sewage board, which has led to increased noise and congestion on other roads and closure of the main road to the ancient site. On top of that, they have directly affected hotels in the Rania area, where the road has also been cut off.

    Less affected are the hotels on the Danae Road, where one lane is in use. A spokesperson for the Theofano Hotel confirmed that guest numbers were lower than this time last year.

    And with the cumulative effects of September 11 affecting tourism and air travel worldwide, the current situation is the last thing hoteliers need.

    Katsouris of the CTO has been assured that hotel construction work will be finished by the end of May, and that most of the road works will be complete by the end of the month. However, other sources have suggested that work in the Kato Paphos area will continue until mid-July.

    Haralambos Karaolis, Executive Engineer for the Municipality, confirmed that the building permit for the hotel had been granted over a year ago but that no conditions were in place to create a time frame in which work should be carried out.

    George Karayanis, Executive engineer at the sewage board in Paphos, stated that the contract for road works around the tourist sites, namely the Tomb of the Kings area, was scheduled to finish by April 15, but admitted that "an extension of one or two weeks may be granted if required in order to finish the work."

    Karayanis also confirmed that no further road works would be permitted in designated tourist areas until after October 15 but that a separate contract had been drawn up for work in other areas that would carry on until mid-July.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] House approves CyTA budget

    By George Psyllides

    THE HOUSE yesterday put 15 million included in the budget for the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) on hold after deputies raised objections about the nature of the investments for which the money is earmarked.

    The House unanimously approved the around 311 million budget although 3 million to be invested in an Israeli company for an underwater cable linking Cyprus to Israel concentrated most of the criticism because of the neighbouring country's treatment of the Palestinian people.

    The second amount put on hold concerned a 12 million investment in Russia, which, according to DIKO deputy Nicos Pittokopitis, did not look like a safe venture.

    KISOS Deputy Doros Theodorou told the plenum that his party would vote against the 3 million if the Israeli company was state-owned.

    "We would have no problem if the company is private but if it is state- owned it would be wrong, in light of the situation in Palestine," Theodorou said.

    George Varnavas of KISOS proposed that the 3 million earmarked for the Israeli investment should be cut altogether.

    In the end the plenum unanimously voted to put the case on hold until CyTA provided more information on the matter.

    Pittokopitis said that his party's position had always been to support CyTA but wondered why the 12 million for Russia had appeared in the organisation's budget for a second year running when the authority had been advised against the venture by experts who said it would be "catastrophic".

    The plenum lifted its hold on an additional 30 million earmarked for a subsidiary company, Digimed, after assurances from the authority and the Communications Minister that the House would be briefed and kept informed on the course of the cash.

    New Horizons deputy Christos Clerides voiced a note of caution, arguing that the authority seemed unready to explain the particulars of the investment in the company and that would make scrutiny difficult.

    AKEL deputy Andreas Christou said, although cautious in the beginning, his party was satisfied with the assurances given by CyTA and the minister.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Cypriot ambassador joins controversial Serbian mayor for tobacco factory ceremony

    VELIMIR Ilic, the Serbian Mayor introduced to President Glafcos Clerides in February as Deputy Prime Minister, also managed to convince Cyprus' ambassador to Belgrade to lay the first stone at a tobacco factory being built in his town.

    The government was left red-faced after it emerged that Ilic was not Deputy Prime Minister after all. Ilic is just Mayor of Cacak, a city of 200,000 inhabitants in central Serbia. He also heads the New Serbia party, part of the coalition that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic.

    Cacak is the site of a new tobacco factory, being built by Cyprus firm European tobacco.

    Ruling DISY deputy Panayiotis Demetriou led a delegation to Cacak last August and held a joint news conference with Ilic to promote the new factory.

    Last month, the Cypriot ambassador to Belgrade Stavros Amvrosiou joined Ilic in Cacak to lay the foundation stone for the 30 million European tobacco factory, which will employ up to 700 workers, Serbian media reported.

    No representatives of the Serbian government were present at the ceremony.

    The Cyprus government has admitted mea culpa over its failure to check Ilic's credentials when he was introduced to Clerides. Demetriou said last week in defence of Ilic that the Serbian Mayor had been proposed as one of the country's Deputy Prime Ministers and was merely awaiting his formal appointment.

    The Yugoslav embassy, which was not consulted about Ilic's visit, confirmed on Wednesday that the Serbian Prime Minister did intend to propose Ilic as one of his Deputy Prime Ministers, "upon the finalising of the current procedure in the Assembly of Serbia on the organisation of its ministries".

    Ilic is a controversial figure in Serbia, where he is accused of assaulting a journalist who linked him with international tobacco smuggling involving Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Klerides: CSE should be privatised

    FINANCE Minister Takis Klerides said yesterday he favoured the eventual privatisation of the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), adding he had already requested a study on the issue.

    But Klerides told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) it was not yet the right time to privatise the CSE, as the institution was still "in its infancy".

    The minister added that privatisation should be carefully planned, so that it could take place in about two years.

    He said that the necessary legislation currently being prepared by the Finance Ministry would "take into consideration that at some point in time the CSE must be privatised, so that amendments to the bills could be made".

    Klerides said that when the CSE was privatised, the state could participate in the institution's share capital, by holding a significant percentage of stocks.

    Asked if CSE bills were being delayed because of the prospect of privatisation, Klerides said that the government was preparing and tabling bills so that there would be no delays, "even if after a year or a year and a half amendments will have to be made".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Help disabled people work, deputies urge

    By Melina Demetriou

    SEVENTY-five per cent of handicapped adults are unemployed but willing to work, the chairman of the Organisation for the Support of Disabled People, Christos Michaelides, said yesterday.

    Michaelides was addressing the House Labour Committee, which convened yesterday to discuss the social and financial problems faced by the handicapped.

    The Organisation's chairman and several deputies accused the government of not doing enough to help the disabled lead a normal life.

    "Seventy-five per cent of them are unemployed because of social discrimination and also because the state does not give them incentives to work," Michaelides charged.

    Disabled people who do not have a job are entitled to state benefit of 250 a month, he added.

    "When a handicapped person has a small position earning say 200 per month he is only entitled to half the state allowance. What kind of incentive is that for him to work?" Michaelides asked.

    Michaelides said the Labour Ministry had promised to address the needs of handicapped people, "but then they directed us to the Finance Ministry which we ended up being allergic to."

    AKEL deputy Sotiroulla Charalambous said the government had drafted a bill calling for measures to support the handicapped but had not yet submitted it to Parliament.

    "The Labour Ministry has told us that they can't implement such a law yet because they don't have adequate personnel to realise the scheme," she said.

    The bill aims to give more job opportunities to the disabled. Among others, it gives employers in the public as well as the private sector incentives to hire handicapped people.

    "The way things stand, there are no special provisions regarding an employer's right to fire a disabled person," Charalambous noted.

    The deputy also charged that the government did not urge businesses to make the necessary adjustments so they could employ disabled people.

    "They offer a company just 500 to construct a ramp and they call that help."

    Zacharias Zachariou of DISY argued, " these people feel like beggars, always expecting money from radio marathons and other collections."

    "It doesn't have to be this way as many of them want and can work, we only need to get rid of our taboos to let it happen," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] New bill 'makes everyone's a donor unless they opt out'

    By Alexia Saoulli

    DISY deputy Nicos Tornaritis said yesterday he was planning to propose a bill that would force all Cypriots to donate their organs for transplant purposes, unless they specifically requested to be exempted.

    According to Dr. George Kyriakides, who heads the Paraskevaidion Surgical and Transplant Foundation in Nicosia, 120 patients are waiting for kidneys, 10 more are waiting for livers and a further 10 are waiting for hearts. All they need to give them another 15-25 years of life is a transplant.

    Because of the shortage of organ donors on the island, Tornaritis wants to table a bill that will allow doctors automatically to remove any organs from a cadaver that they deem usable.

    This proposal comes after reports that the Paraskevaidion Foundation, up until three weeks ago, had not had a single cadaver organ donation for 14 months.

    Kyriakides said Cyprus normally had an average of eight cadaver donors per year, but that this could vary at any time because of the lack of potential candidates.

    "You need brain dead patients that have basically been killed in car accidents, but their vital organs are kept alive through artificial respiration" he told the Cyprus Mail, pointing out that patients who had died from chronic or transmissible diseases were not acceptable donors.

    Kyriakides said the government had suggested creating an organ donor register, but he said it would be more effective to sensitise the public to the importance of organ donation so that they were more willing to donate their loved one's organs when the time came.

    But Tornaritis believes that all Cypriots should automatically be added onto an organ donor register so that family consent is not needed.

    "If there are people that do not want to donate their organs," he said, "they will have to apply for exemption and be included on a special list of non-donors."

    Tornaritis said similar schemes already existed in France, Austria and Belgium and that their results were "encouraging".

    The deputy said his proposal would also combat the problem of transplant patients illegally buying organs on the black market in countries such as Romania, because there would be enough organs here.

    "We need to be altruistic in practice, not just in words," said Tornaritis.

    "I know there are some ethical dilemmas attached to this proposal, but just think how proud parents of organ donors would feel knowing they had extended the life of another human being."

    He said that in Europe there were only 75 transplant patients per million people, but that in Cyprus there were nearly 150 patients in a population of 700,000.

    "There is currently a very large transplant waiting list and a dwindling number of donors," he said, "and something needs to be done about it".

    The vascular and transplant doctor, Kyriakides, confirmed that donors were always welcome and insisted the deceased's body was not destroyed in any way because of the procedure.

    "Doctors are not using it for an anatomy lesson. They merely remove the vital organ and give it to another human being so that he or she can have another chance at life.

    "The dead person is then buried, and the family can grieve for them the way they would have, knowing that someone else is alive because of their generosity."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Fireworks remand

    A 47-YEAR-OLD Larnaca man was yesterday remanded in custody for two days in connection with possession of 360 firecrackers he had allegedly bought from a Turkish Cypriot man in the mixed village of Pyla.

    Police told the court they were led to the man after reports that pupils at the Aradhippou secondary school were using firecrackers during break.

    Officers who arrived on the scene questioned several pupils, among them the 14-year-old suspect's son who told them that his father had bought the crackers from a Turkish Cypriot man in Pyla.

    Police searched the suspect's home and found eight boxes containing 360 firecrackers.

    The 47-year-old man allegedly told police that he bought the Turkish-made crackers for 10 per box as a present to his son.

    Larnaca Police Director Nicos Stelikos yesterday stressed the dangers from firecrackers and urged parents to avoid buying them for their children.

    Stelikos said that police would crack down on the phenomenon and beef up measures to stop youths from buying firecrackers from Pyla.

    Hundreds of youths are injured during Easter every year with Pyla being one of the main supply centres of ready-made firecrackers because of the lack of police.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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