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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, April 16, 2002


  • [01] 'Threats will get you nowhere'
  • [02] 56 million on roads last year
  • [03] Detonator blows up in boy's hands
  • [04] DISY seeks to overturn duty free amendment
  • [05] Government bows to farmers' fuel demands
  • [06] Gypsies crash into bishop's car
  • [07] New rules seek to smooth process of claims against lawyers
  • [08] Experts to check if Pontians are really Greek

  • [01] 'Threats will get you nowhere'

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday that the thinly veiled threats levelled by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem at the weekend were counterproductive and confirmed Turkish intransigence on Cyprus.

    Cem told the Greek newspaper Ependitis that a mutually acceptable solution for Cyprus must be based on two component states, with separate sovereignty, which would create a partnership state.

    He also warned that should Cyprus join the EU without a prior solution, Turkey would move "very intensely and this will create problems to all of us."

    "Cem's remarks confirm the intransigent position of the Turkish side, which is based on the philosophy of two separate states in Cyprus," Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday. "Such a philosophy is totally unacceptable."

    The comments, he added, offered no possibility for progress at the Cyprus peace talks and even less chance of a settlement.

    "It is interesting to note that Cem outlines these views at a time when others, either in Ankara or elsewhere, are attempting to indicate to third countries or foreign envoys that there are fresh or different thoughts on the part of the Turkish side," Papapetrou said.

    He added that Cem was essentially reiterating previous threats against Cyprus that Ankara would annex the island's Turkish occupied part.

    "I must admit, however, that on this occasion the threats are aired in a more careful and more subtle manner than in the past, but they are threats nonetheless," the spokesman said.

    Papapetrou said Turkey should have realised by now that neither Nicosia nor Brussels operated under threats and that such a policy was counterproductive.

    Replying to questions, he said the difference between the position of the Turkish side (for two separate sovereign states) and that of the Greek Cypriot side (one state with a single sovereignty) was not "simply a difference" between the two interlocutors.

    "Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash needs to take great strides if we are to get a solution," Papapetrou said, noting that the EU also rejected the idea of two states in Cyprus.

    The spokesman said there was no indication that Turkish intransigence was being encouraged by third parties.

    He said foreign envoys continued to operate on the reasoning set out in UN resolutions.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] 56 million on roads last year

    By George Psyllides

    AROUND 56 million pounds were spent for the development of the road network last year while an additional 51 million would be spend this year, the Communications Ministry announced yesterday.

    The figures were released during a news conference, in which Minister Averoff Neophytou presented the work and vision of the communications ministry.

    According to the ministry, 17,805,000 were paid for the construction and modernisation of public buildings last year while the amount for this year would reach 22,885,000.

    Improvements to the island's airports cost the state 8,350,000 in 2001 while an additional 2,810,000 were expected to be spent on airports this year.

    But the most important development concerning the airports was the promotion of their development and management by a strategic investor and giving permission to private companies to fly in and out of Cyprus, Neophytou said.

    On the health front, the ministry said that the new Nicosia hospital, currently under construction, would cost 50 million, and the Famagusta hospital 11,500,000.

    Concerning the liberalisation of communications, Neophytou said his ministry had submitted to the House the proposal for changing CyTA's operational framework, hoping that its conversion into a private shareholding company would give CyTA flexibility, autonomy and efficiency.

    The communications ministry would now go ahead and prepare legislation to change the operational framework of post office services, Neophytou said.

    The news conference was addressed, through live link, by Greek Transport Minister Christos Varelis and the leader of the EU's Cyprus accession team Leopold Maurer.

    Varelis stressed the need for market liberalisation and the creation of the conditions necessary to guide Cyprus into the EU.

    Maurer said Cyprus was on track with harmonisation, with 24 chapters out of 29 having been completed, adding the final five chapters would be closed by June.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Detonator blows up in boy's hands

    THE DEFENCE Ministry was yesterday investigating the case of a 15-year-old boy who lost the tips of his fingers after a military detonator blew up in his hand.

    Police detained his 19-year-old brother, who is serving in the National Guard and is suspected of having stolen the detonator during a military exercise.

    The teenager was rushed to hospital on Sunday after the detonator exploded in his hands while he was trying to set fire to it.

    According to hospital staff, the teenager's fingers were reattached after a lengthy surgical procedure.

    His condition was stable, the hospital said.

    The 15-year-old had found the detonator in his brother's drawer, reports said.

    Defence Ministry spokesman, Lt Colonel Andreas Yorkas, told the Cyprus Mail the National Guard were co-operating with CID to investigate whether the detonator had been stolen from the exercise or from the soldier's unit in Nicosia.

    Yorkas explained the detonator was highly volatile and even dropping it could cause it to explode, let alone setting fire to it.

    He added that after every exercise, special safety personnel combed the area and collected anything that might be picked up and cause injury.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] DISY seeks to overturn duty free amendment

    By Melina Demetriou

    DISY is seeking to overturn a contentious amendment allowing deputies serving since 1991 to buy high-powered duty free cars.

    It emerged last week that a group of MPs had managed to amend a 1992 law so they could buy such cars.

    Under the law as it stood, deputies were allowed to purchase duty free cars of up to 2,000 cc petrol or 2,500 cc diesel. The law also granted deputies serving since 1991 the right to buy just one car of bigger capacity each without paying any duties.

    But Politis last week revealed that a group of veteran deputies had introduced an amendment to the existing law "through unclear procedures", allowing those serving as MPs for the past 11 years to buy more such cars.

    The House has admitted that the amendment in question passed through Parliament in March with the Finance Ministry's consent, insisting however that it only affected deputies who were still 'owed' a luxury duty free car.

    The retroactive nature of the law means that the deputies in question are now owed money by the state for duties they have submitted to buy luxury cars.

    DISY yesterday announced its intention to table a proposal invalidating the amendment in question.

    DISY deputy Prodromos Prodromou charged the provision had been introduced by AKEL and DIKO without the knowledge of the other parties.

    He further described the amendment as "non-approved" insisting that it had passed through Parliament through unclear procedures.

    "My party has never positioned itself on such an amendment which we oppose anyway," he said, adding that DISY wanted to exclude it from the existing law.

    House Finance Committee chairman Marcos Kyprianou of DIKO yesterday insisted that Parliament had been briefed on the provision by the House director.

    "No deputy expressed any objections so it was not deemed necessary for the parties to position themselves on the amendment," he argued.

    Kyprianou, however, admitted that procedures of this kind should be made more transparent.

    Proposals are not always included in committee reports.

    "This practice must change and in the future parliamentary procedures will be more transparent," he promised.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Government bows to farmers' fuel demands

    By Jean Christou

    FARMERS and government yesterday agreed on a two-month compensatory plan to offset imminent increases in petrol prices, which prompted demonstration by farmers' unions last week.

    Following a meeting between farmers unions PEK and EKA and the Ministers of Commerce and Agriculture, it was announced that the farmers had accepted the government's proposal.

    However, the farmers made it clear that it was a stopgap measure and warned that if a long-term solution was not found by then, they would escalate measures.

    Last Thursday, around 100 farmers gathered outside parliament as deputies decided to postpone the three-cent increase in the price of fuel to give the government time to reach an agreement with the farmers. The farmers were briefed on the government's proposal yesterday by Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis and Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous.

    "It was agreed that additional funds would be returned to the farmers," Rolandis told journalists after the meeting. "The government has fulfilled the request fully. They said they don't want to pay this amount and we agreed."

    Themistocleous said the government had satisfied the farmers' demands one hundred per cent. "I think things are very clear," he said.

    "The government has satisfied the farmers to avoid the additional burden from the coming increases, which cannot be avoided."

    The minister said that details of how the package would be implemented would be ironed out at further meetings this week.

    Michalis Lytras of the PEK farmers union said the proposal had been accepted for a two-month period.

    "But we insist that fuel for farming purposes should be continuously subsidised," he said. He said that the system the government would be using to return the costs to farmers had its shortcomings but added that the government was considering suggestions put forward by the farmers to overcome the problems. "We'll discuss this and make a decision with the agriculture minister, but this is not a solution to the problem," Lytras said. "This is a solution born out of necessity. Our standing demand is colouring of the fuel and subsidisation so that farmers can buy at lower prices and cut production costs."

    Constantinos Constantinides of the EKA farmers union said it appeared that, with the island's accession to the EU, farming was on its way to becoming a redundant industry.

    "Farmers are disappearing," he said. "We came out of the meeting with the ministers feeling more insecure than ever. We have entered difficult times."

    A government announcement yesterday said that, within the harmonisation framework, the commerce ministry had called in experts to carry out a study on the rebalancing and liberalisation of fuel prices. The aim of the study is to readjust fuel prices so that they reflect cost and to scrap existing subsidies, as well as to introduce the liberalisation of prices as far as possible.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Gypsies crash into bishop's car

    TWO Turkish Cypriot gypsies have been detained after fleeing the scene of an accident in a Paphos village on Sunday.

    The incident happened at the village of Emba, when a car driven by a gypsy approached the area where officials, among them Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos, were placing wreaths at the monument of 11 EOKA fighters.

    A police officer handling the traffic directed the driver to use a different route, but the man mistook the gesture as a signal to stop for a check.

    Apparently fearing arrest since it later transpired he had no driver's licence, the man sped off but in doing so hit the bishop's Mercedes and almost mowed down the police officer.

    Police were immediately notified and the two passengers were arrested shortly after in the village of Mouttalos.

    Earlier, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou had said most of the gypsies crossing from the occupied areas only stayed for long enough to collect government benefits.

    The minister said around 320 gypsies - around a quarter of their total population in Cyprus - were currently living in the free areas.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] New rules seek to smooth process of claims against lawyers

    By Soteris Charalambous

    A CHANGE in the law, coming into force at the end of the month, will, for the first time, provide guidelines for negligence claims against lawyers. The changes also aim to clarify the procedures for bringing complaints to the bar association.

    Andreas Danos, a member of the bar disciplinary committee for 21 years, sees the changes as "simplifying the process of law". Danos also believes the changes will "probably" lead to an increase in the number of cases heard. Directives have been given requiring advocates to take out insurance to cover cases of negligence.

    The new procedures aim to improve the manner in which lawyers deal with their clients and should lead to an improvement in standards. The most common complaint received by the bar disciplinary board has been over monies received by lawyers and not given to clients. The proposed changes aim to speed up this process and remove delaying tactics employed by some lawyers to slow the proceedings of a claim.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Experts to check if Pontians are really Greek

    INTERIOR Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday that four groups of Greek government officials were expected on the island within the next two to three weeks to resolve the issue of the origin of a large number of Pontian Greeks living on the island.

    According to a February 2000 census, there are around 3,500 Pontians - ethnic Greeks from the Black Sea - living on the island.

    The government, however, decided to look into the origin of many Pontians after it emerged in the census that many did not actually have Greek nationality.

    "The matter will be settled by May or June," Christodoulou said.

    He told reporters that the government had decided to provide incentives to Pontians concerning house rental, aiming primarily in decongesting overcrowded areas and eradicating so-called ghettos, especially in Paphos.

    The issue of the acquisition of homes by Pontians would be examined together with the matter of settlement of origin, Christodoulou said.

    Commenting on information from the Russian embassy that Chechens were living on the island using forged passports, Christodoulou said that the matter was being investigated by the island's authorities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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