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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-18
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>
Thursday, April 18, 2002
 Residents' anger over Limassol flyover planBy George Psyllides
PLANS to build flyovers over Limassol's roundabouts, notorious for the traffic congestion they create, could hit further delays after the residents of one area said they would resist their construction if the government did not carry out the necessary studies to determine the effects the projects would have on the environment.
Construction of the first flyover at the Polemidia and Limassol port roundabouts has been scheduled for this coming September, after around two years of delay, blamed by the Communications Ministry on difficulties met in carrying out the project's study as well as time needed by the electricity authority to bury the overhead power cables in the area.
But although acknowledging the necessity of the flyover, Polemidia residents are worried about the noise pollution created by the vehicles using it.
Polemidia councillor Christos Neocleous told the House Communications Committee on Tuesday that Polemidia would become a community of deaf people, warning that they could seek their rights in the courts if there was no environmental study before work began.
The Mayor of Polemidia George Georgiou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the Public Works Department (PWD) had pledged to carry out a study at least as regards the effects of the project.
Georgiou said now they were waiting for the PWD to set a date and brief the council on all the consequences of the project.
"The ministry claims that noise levels would be lower than normal," Georgiou said.
"Without having the written positions of the PWD I can't take a stance," he added.
Georgiou said there were two serious factors to be considered on the matter.
"We have a traffic problem, which we need to work and solve and then there is the problem of minimising intervention to the environment to avoid greater costs," he said.
He said that a balance should be found in the issue, adding that no decision has been taken about the community's reaction in the event that the ministry's facts and figures did not satisfy them.
The project is expected to be finished two-and-a-half years later, that is, if work begins as scheduled.
Work on the Mesa Yitonia roundabout is scheduled to begin early next year followed by Ayia Fyla in July 2003.
The projects will cost a total of £30 million.
Tenders for the construction of flyovers at the Ayios Athanasios and Yermasoyia roundabouts are expected to be invited in a year's time.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 'Gypsies wrecking our neighbourhood'By George Psyllides
GYPSIES living in Limassol's Turkish Cypriot quarter are creating problems in the area, to the point that Greek Cypriot residents are scared to go out at night, the House Refugee Committee heard yesterday.
Desperate Greek Cypriots, in their overwhelming majority refugees who moved to the area after the 1974 invasion, told the committee yesterday that Turkish Cypriot gypsies created huge problems with their behaviour, and urged the government to make good on its promises of moving them out.
The problem has become worse in the past year, with the gypsy population in the area increasing fivefold, the residents said.
An intelligence service (KYP) official claimed that the increase in gypsy arrivals was part of a policy by the occupation regime to get rid of them.
One resident said gypsies drove their cars recklessly, without licence or insurance, damaged other vehicles, cursed and threatened, and that people were afraid to go out during the night.
Another resident urged the Interior Ministry to move the gypsies as promised, arguing that residents were not racists but were gradually being turned into such.
The residents said the roads in the area were dirty and infested with rats, while one claimed that gypsies slaughtered animals and threw their entrails into the streets.
Limassol District Officer Andreas Roussos replied the gypsies were citizens of the Republic and the state was obliged to provide them with housing.
Concerning the bridge, under which gypsies have found refuge in several occasions, Roussos said it was used to draw media attention that in turn would get them a house.
The Chairman of the committee, Aristofanis Georgiou, charged that the minister's promises had not materialised and that he would seek a meeting with him today to discuss the matter.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Farmers trade blame with government over brucellosis outbreakBy Alexia Saoulli
BRUCELLOSIS, a cattle and livestock virus, poses absolutely no threat to consumers' health, Head of the Veterinary Services Fidias Loucaides said yesterday.
But, health hazard or not, the Pancyprian Organisations of Cattle, and Sheep and Goat, Farmers are blaming the government and its lack of preventative measures for the re-emergence of the problem
Executive Secretary of the Pancyprian Organisation of Cattle Farmers (POA), Nicos Papakyriacou told the Cyprus Mail that brucellosis had only re- emerged in the Republic three years ago.
This is a virus that causes abortion in cattle and livestock, as well as retention of the placenta with the possible consequence of infection and infertility, he said. In turn, the animals are not productive and must be slaughtered. However, the meat and milk of the animal itself is in no way contaminated and is healthy for consumption, he added.
"The reason the problem is back," said Papakyriacou, "is twofold. The main problem is the uncontrollable livestock trading between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot farmers. We know that brucellosis has been a problem in the occupied areas for years now, because our veterinary services has tried to help them in the past. But, unfortunately, there are some farmers that insist on buying cheap goats or sheep from Turkish Cypriots so that they can use them to breed or sell them over here at a profit". He said that trading with the occupied areas was not illegal in itself, but that the movement of livestock from one area to another without the approval of the veterinary services was.
Papakyriacou said the second problem was that most cattle and livestock farms were located back-to-back with only a wall separating them. This then promoted the spread of disease and viruses such as brucellosis, as there was not way to contain it.
"This is not the farmer's fault. It's the Agriculture Ministry's and the way it mapped out farming areas years ago," he said, adding that there should be at least 250 metres between each farm.
But the veterinary service head, Loucaides, said that this had not only been up to the Agriculture Ministry.
"Local authorities, citizens and the Interior Ministry also have to give their approval for farming areas," he said. "How many people do you think would accept a pig farm in the centre of Nicosia? None. They'd complain of the smell. That's why all the farms are so close together. It's not as if Cyprus is a very large island and there's a lot of space to accommodate all farms," he explained.
However, Papakyriacou said that because of this and its effect on spreading the disease, lots of farmers were suffering economically.
"They are only compensated for 75 per cent of their losses, which is not enough if they are losing an entire herd."
He added that the government was understaffed and did not carry out frequent blood tests or spray infected areas with disinfectant enough.
Again Loucaides refuted this allegation and said it was unfair of cattle and livestock organisations to point the finger of blame at the government.
"We only have one car to go around and spray infected areas. It's not as if these farmers do not have their own tractors and disinfectants. If a person has mice in their house and brings in an exterminator, are they going to just sit back after that and not use poison and traps to ensure the problem does not reoccur? Or are they going to sit back with their hands folded. The farmers expect us to do everything and take no responsibility whatsoever. Besides it's not our fault the brucellosis is back. We had a similar outbreak in 1985 and took care of it. If they hadn't been trading with the north, this never would have happened."
The President of the Pancyprian Organisation of Goat and Sheep Farmers, Loucas Mappouras, agreed that the problem had been caused by Greek Cypriot farmers' greed and lack of conscience in dealing with the occupied areas.
But he maintained that the veterinary service should step up prevention measures and check up on farms around the island every three to four months, ensuring that their livestock was healthy.
"We want more permanent veterinary service staff to carry out frequent blood tests," Mappouras said, adding that animals should not be allowed to graze in the buffer zone where they can come into contact with Turkish Cypriot herds, and that farmers should be forbidden from selling animals without first having had a blood test.
"If we stick to these measures then we won't have a problem," he said.
Loucaides said Mappouras had no right to tell the veterinary service how to do its job.
"We always been short staffed, but brucellosis has always been a priority and we have never neglected our duties to carry prevention procedures."
He said blood tests were carried out annually and blood samples taken from each of the 4,500 goat and sheep farms and 367 cattle farms.
"This is an EU approved programme," he said. "If a sample of animals is found to be infected, we check the whole herd and take steps to clear up the infection."
"This is not a new problem," he added. "It's been back since 1999 and there have been outbreaks all over the island. But consumers should not be worried, because you can only contract brucellosis if you come into contact with the animal's womb or fluids, something only vets and farmers have to worry about, which is why we now all wear gloves."
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 CY defends rise in cargo ratesBy Jean Christou
CYPRUS Airways (CY) yesterday defended a recent increase in cargo rates and fended off accusations that the increases were imposed after a meeting between an airline official and a local company.
CY's cargo manager Panicos Nicolaides admitted that rates had increased recently but said the last hike in cargo rates had been in 1994. He also said the recent increase was decided after consultations with some 15 scheduled airlines who fly into Cyprus, and was in accordance with IATA regulations.
Referring to the accusations made by a local company that the increases were implemented to benefit of one firm in collusion with a CY cargo official, Nicolaides said:
"This is totally unfounded and we can prove it. We have increased rates. However, the rates had been stagnant since 1994 and we have incurred tremendous increases in costs since and also loss of cargo."
Nicolaides said the new rates were agreed following a meeting between representatives of the scheduled airlines, which include British Airways, Lufthansa, Gulf Air, Emirates, Olympic, Tarom and Aeroflot among others.
"It was unanimously agreed by all the cargo managers of the scheduled airline carriers flying to Cyprus and comes under IATA resolutions," Nicolaides said, adding that he had been under pressure for the last 18 months from the other airlines to table an increase in the rates. CY has an 80 per cent share of cargo traffic in and out of the island.
"Yes, Cyprus Airways will make some money and so will the other airlines," he said.
Nicolaides said that the rate per kilo for cargo out of the UK was almost twice the price of the 45 cents being charged on flights out of the island. "This tremendous imbalance is the subject of infighting between agents and so is the lack of business," he said. "However, it costs us as much to take the kilo out as it does to put it in so we were and are losing money because the rates out of Cyprus are low. We increased the rates for legitimate reasons."
He added that the airline had received some complaints from vegetable exporters who were given a preferential rate. CY wanted to increase their rates by two cents per kilo but, after the exporters complained, the increase was dropped to one cent.
Nicolaides said cargo volume had dropped since September 11, but not significantly. He said last year's cargo volume was down seven per cent on 2000.
"We were surprised. We anticipated a loss of cargo because what comes in mostly are consumer goods," he said. "But people don't seem to have cut down on their spending, contrary to what we thought."
The next challenge for CY cargo will be the liberalisation of air transport next January, which means that charter flights will also be allowed to bring in cargo. But Nicolaides believes that they won't make an impact on the market since charters don't operate in winter and suppliers were more likely to stick with regular schedules. The scheduled flights also have the main markets, such as London, Paris and Frankfurt covered, Nicolaides said. "Provincial airports are not suitable to exporters," he added.
With liberalisation, cargo prices will likely drop between 10 and 15 per cent but not the outgoing charges.
"What will happen is we will maintain all the big accounts, admittedly with a lower rate although not much, which is probably not justified since the charter firms won't be able to satisfy the market," Nicolaides said.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Clerides: Israel should withdraw immediatelyCYPRUS fully supports UN resolutions and Security Council recommendations for peace in the Middle East and calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the Palestinian territories, President Glafcos Clerides said yesterday.
Clerides made the statement during his address to participants in a two-day UN International Meeting in Support of Middle East Peace convened in Nicosia by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
During a working breakfast given for the Committee members at the Presidential Palace, President Clerides said that his government believed "that there should be an international inquiry into the atrocities committed against the Palestinians".
The UN Committee members were accompanied by Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Sotos Zackheos, Ambassador Leonidas Markides, and Director of Political Affairs (Bilateral Relations) at the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs Marios Ieronymides.
Present were also Minister for Planning and International Cooperation of the Palestinian Authority Nabil Shaath and Palestinian Authority Representative to Cyprus Samir Abou Ghazalleh.
Participating in the Nicosia meeting, which ended yesterday were 150 delegates from 100 countries and organisations.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 The men behind the Cyprus RallyBy Soteris Charalambous
IT RANKS as the most prestigious date on the Cypriot sporting calendar. Pictures are beamed all over the world. The crown jewel of Cyprus sports tourism has reached its 30th year this weekend. But without people like Koullis and Loucas from Nicosia, the Cyprus rally wouldn't be what it is today.
Koullis and Loucas are volunteers who have helped to organise the event since the inaugural Cyprus Rally in 1968. While multi-million pound teams like Ford, Subaru and Peugeot and millionaire drivers Carlos Sainz, Colin McCae and Tommi Makinen are here for a few days, Koullis and Loucas will work for six months - without financial reward - preparing the event.
It is their love for the sport and pride in being involved in Cyprus' highest profile international event that has seen them give up so much of their time over the last 34 years. Part of a team of eight, they leave their jobs and work after hours, often late into the night, laying the groundwork for the three-day event. From creating the new route, measuring the exact distances of the special stages and creating the maps the drivers will use when they compete Koullis and Loucas have played a part.
The number of volunteers increases every year. Koullis advises getting applications in early in order to be involved for next year as many people come back year after year to be involved. Applications can be obtained from www.cyprusrally.org.cy and volunteers with computer skills and knowledge of first aid are always welcomed. However, Loucas warns it's a lot of hard work and long hours.
By the time the drivers have left Cyprus, the mechanics put away their tools and the Rally circus makes its way to the next port of call, over 350 volunteers will have had some form of involvement in the 323 competitive kilometres that make up the route. Over 200 marshals and timekeepers will have lined the route while 120 safety officers will have stood on standby in case of an emergency. Asked why he came back year after year Koullis smiled: "It's the magic of the rally of Cyprus."
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Truckers' dispute called off after compromise proposalLIMASSOL port truck drivers yesterday called off their protest after the chief of police agreed a partial lifting of a ban on using roads in Zakaki.
The drivers began the day blocking roads around the port for the third day running, protesting a decision to ban them from passing through residential streets in Zakaki.
But the measures were lifted after a surprise visit by Chief of Police Andreas Angelides, who ordered a partial lifting of the ban, thus satisfying one of the truckers' demands.
The drivers will now be allowed to pass through Zakaki between 9am and 12pm, while children are at school.
Earlier on, the drivers had rejected a suggestion to use a different route near Trahoni and were meeting to decide on further measures when Angelides' proposal came through.
The three-day blockade had caused huge problems to businesses and companies as well as tourists.
What remains to be seen is the reaction of Zakaki residents, who on Monday warned they would not accept a lifting of the ban, as there were several schools in the area.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Hooligans on the rampage in Limassol basketball clashBy George Psyllides
HOOLIGANISM reared its ugly head once more on Tuesday night but this time during a basketball game in Limassol, where young thugs invaded the court and beat up everyone in sight including the basketball federation chairman who was watching the game with his daughter.
The game between APOEL of Nicosia and Apollonas of Limassol was being held behind closed doors because of trouble during a previous fixture between the same teams at the same stadium.
Just 45 seconds before the end of the game and with APOEL in front 69 to 63, around 250 Apollonas supporters smashed the doors and stormed the court trying to attack APOEL players and officials, who managed to escape in the dressing rooms.
The yobs then turned on camera crews, their club officials who were trying to stop them from getting to the dressing rooms, and even the federation chairman Panicos Tsiailis who was reportedly watching the game with his daughter.
They smashed television cameras and then attacked Tsiailis, with several Apollonas officials intervening to save the chairman from the beating.
Instead, the hooligans turned on their own and hit Demetris Grivas, who has served Apollonas for 28 years as a player and then coach.
Police yesterday said no arrests had been made in connection with the violence.
The authorities have come under fire for their inadequate coverage of the game despite the previous trouble and the game's importance.
The fans who stormed the stadium had been assembled outside, watching the game via a gigantic television screen and reportedly bingeing on beer.
Apollonas have condemned the violence and said that the club's board would meet to decide the future of the team.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002