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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, April 23, 2002


  • [01] Government urges media to co-operate over protest investigation
  • [02] Gun stash was 'just memorabilia', defence lawyer pleads
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot 'transferred to Anorthosis'
  • [04] Solana EU comments cause uproar
  • [05] Chopper lease to cost 800,000
  • [06] International businesses to talk tax
  • [07] Vassiliou in London for knee op
  • [08] New computer virus on the loose

  • [01] Government urges media to co-operate over protest investigation

    By George Psyllides

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday urged the Journalists Union to drop its objection to television stations handing over to police the footage of last Thursday's violence outside the Israeli ambassador's residence, saying it was every citizen's obligation to help solve criminal offences.

    On Saturday, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said he would request the footage of Thursday's demonstration outside the ambassador's home, which saw four people arrested and police accused of brutality.

    Markides said the footage would be assessed in order to determine whether criminal offences had been committed during the fracas, in which Nicosia Police Director Nicos Theodorides was assaulted and sent to hospital.

    Two demonstrators, later arrested by police, were also injured.

    In a statement issued on Sunday, the Journalists Union said it was "deeply worried and strongly opposed" to the police action to request from television stations to hand over the footage.

    "This action constitutes a violation of fundamental journalistic principles and is a serious threat to the rights and liberties of mass media workers," the statement said.

    The union said that adopting such a tactic would hurt the citizens' right to information because it would create huge obstacles and dangers to reporters accessing areas and sources of events where they might be treated as police informants.

    "A situation like this would put them in danger and would have dire consequences on journalistic mission and work," the union said.

    The union said that in accordance with the rules and principles of international journalist organisations, any material was the sole property of the mass media and was destined only for informing the public.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday the government understood the union's sensitivity on wanting to stay away from situations, which could in future bring journalists into difficult positions, but stressed that "it is every citizen's obligation to contribute in solving criminal offences".

    "Answers should be found with a logical combination of the two factors that should be taken into consideration," Papapetrou said.

    "It is not a black and white issue," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Gun stash was 'just memorabilia', defence lawyer pleads

    By George Psyllides

    THE DEFENCE of a 48-year-old army lieutenant colonel who has pleaded guilty to 12 counts of theft and possession of illegal arms yesterday claimed he did it out of a "mania of collecting memorabilia" from his term in the National Guard.

    Suspended infantry officer Savvas Sudjis from Larnaca was arrested in August last year after being named by a bombing suspect as the supplier of the explosives.

    He initially faced 60 charges in connection with the illegal possession of arms and munitions but 48 were later withdrawn.

    Police searches at his home and office after his arrest came up with a mini arsenal including 16 bayonets, a reel of fuse, two smoke grenades, an unregistered airgun and a large quantity of military equipment.

    After the cache was found, Sudjis claimed the weapons had been given to him by a man who was later murdered.

    Efstathios Efstathiou, defending, told the Assizes court yesterday that his client had been tried and condemned by the mass media "in the most brutal way".

    He said his client had co-operated with the authorities, revealing all his offences, adding that nothing was missing from the arms he had stolen from the National Guard because of his "mania for collecting memorabilia".

    Efstathiou claimed that many of the items used as evidence in the case were kept in his office and could be seen by all visitors.

    Sentencing will take place on Thursday at 4pm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Turkish Cypriot 'transferred to Anorthosis'

    By Soteris Charalambous

    A TURKISH Cypriot football player has crossed the Green Line to play for Anorthosis, Turkish press reports said yesterday.

    According to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen twin brothers Raif and Sabri Selden, footballers from Binatli football club, left their home in occupied Morphou with their family, and are currently living in the free Famagusta area.

    The paper went on to suggest that Sabri, 21, had signed a contract to play for Anorthosis and that a transfer fee, in the region of 3,000 had been agreed between the clubs.

    Reports further suggest that the Turkish Cypriot football association had not been consulted over the transfer and that the occupied regime's 'foreign ministry' had refused to give the player permission to play for a "foreign" club. The paper goes on to say the brothers' mother is Turkish and that their father is Cypriot.

    Sources close to Anorthosis football club yesterday confirmed that the player had been given a "trial" at the club and that other players had been told he had a Danish background, but could not confirm reports about any possible transfer or the reported salary of 1,500 per month.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Solana EU comments cause uproar

    By Jean Christou

    THE ENTIRE political arena was up in arms yesterday over comments by the EU's High Representative for foreign and defence policy, Javier Solana, that if a solution to the Cyprus problem was not found prior to accession, only the "Greek part" of Cyprus would join the bloc.

    President Glafcos Clerides said Solana was not the one to "decide on Cyprus' accession to the EU", while Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said he would seek a meeting with the EU official, and political parties joined the fray.

    Solana made his comments in an interview with Greek newspaper To Vima. "You cannot define the wishes of others. We want the talks to have results. However, if they are not successful, the Greek Cypriot side will be accepted as an EU member. In case an agreement its not reached it is not the whole of the island which will be accepted," Solana was quoted as saying.

    Commenting on the statement yesterday, Clerides said: "Those who decide assure us that the whole of Cyprus will accede."

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the government believed Solana's approach was wrong and would ask for explanations from Solana himself and from the EU.

    "This approach is contrary to the positions and decisions of the EU itself, " Papapetrou said. "They give rise to Turkish hopes that it can overcome the Helsinki decision, which said the Cyprus problem would not be a precondition for the Republic's accession to the EU."

    A commentator in a Turkish Cypriot newspaper said yesterday Solana's statement was a "disaster" for the Greek Cypriots but added it might bring a new momentum to the face-to-face talks between Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, "which were stalled because of the behaviour of the EU".

    "Will the Greek Cypriot side now become more flexible?" asked the chief editor of Kibris. "Solana's statement is in the direction that the Turkish side wishes and expects. It must not be considered as a pretext for the non-solution because the Greek Cypriot side has made this mistake, though in the opposite direction, by following the policy of joining the EU in the name of the whole island."

    All of the Greek Cypriot political parties yesterday condemned Solana's comment, while Foreign Minister Cassoulides, who is in Valencia, said he would try and seek a meeting with the EU official.

    Cassoulides said the application for EU membership had been made by the Republic of Cyprus and that accession negotiations between the government and Brussels were being conducted on behalf of the entire island.

    "I wonder if Solana has dealt with the legal aspect of Cyprus' accession and not the practical application of accession," Cassoulides said.

    "If indeed Mr Solana knew the legal aspect of our accession, he should have realised that the application for EU membership was filed by the Republic of Cyprus, the only legal personality as far as the UN and the EU are concerned."

    Immediately after publication of To Vima on Sunday, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman, Panayiotis Beglitis, issued a statement saying Greece was able to safeguard Cyprus' accession to the EU citing the EU's decision to make the whole of Cyprus a member.

    "The UN and the EU recognise the Republic of Cyprus as the only legal representative of the whole of the Cypriot state," Beglitis said.

    He said the EU and its member states had decided that "with the completion of the accession negotiations, the Republic of Cyprus would accede as a whole de jure to the EU, while the implementation of the acquis communautaire would cover de facto the free part of the island, if the political problem had not been solved."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Chopper lease to cost 800,000

    By George Psyllides

    TWO helicopters leased to help in fighting fires during the summer season will cost taxpayers 800,000, the House Finance Committee heard yesterday.

    The committee decided yesterday to forward the budget for approval in the next plenary meeting this coming Thursday.

    The Justice Ministry's Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides told the committee that the two helicopters had been leased for a four-month period last year and had played a vital role in fighting blazes between June and September.

    The committee heard that a provision had been included in last year's contract enabling the ministry to lease the helicopters for this year too.

    The deal provides that the government would have to pay $900,000, around 600,000, for 100 flight-hours, while a second bidder wanted $2,437,000 for the same number of hours.

    The amount includes 600,000 for 100 hours of flight, 100,000 to cover other costs, 30,000 for fuel, and 70,000 VAT.

    The Finance Ministry representative told the committee that in accordance with the agreement, every hour of flight on top of the agreed100 would cost $9,000, while there would be a $100,000 charge per additional 15-day stay, $12,000 for every hour of night activities, and $15,000 for every hour of night flight.

    Last year the helicopters - Russian-made Kamov 32s - were only used for 65 hours.

    Cyprus is seeking to acquire three fire-fighting helicopters of its own, at an estimated cost of 20 million. However, it emerged last week that irregularities had forced the cancellation of the tenders procedure, requiring the renewal of the leasing arrangement.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] International businesses to talk tax

    By Jean Christou

    THE CYPRUS International Business Association (CIBA) will tomorrow again push forward with its campaign to have the island's EU harmonisation tax package moved forward during its ninth annual general meeting in Limassol.

    CIBA President Mehran Eftekhar said yesterday the main issue at the meeting would be the tax package and that it was the organisation's main aim to ensure it was a balanced deal.

    "We are going to discuss topical issues affecting the offshore business community here and tax reform is the main one," Eftekhar said. "The package is already approved by the EU, closing the taxation chapter, but it's the rates that are important to us."

    The government is committed to abolishing the different tax rates between local and offshore companies. Offshore companies are currently taxed at a rate of 4.25 per cent and local companies at 20-25 per cent.

    The government announced its intention to scrap tax advantages for 'offshore' companies nearly two years ago, to avoid being blacklisted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a tax haven. The OECD said that Cyprus must come up with a timetable for removing harmful tax practices by the end of December 2001 but no decision has yet been taken.

    Offshore businesses have warned companies would leave Cyprus if taxation goes over 12.5 per cent -- the rate due to be adopted in Ireland by 2003. Ireland was allowed to keep some preferential rates for an extended period.

    "We are still in discussions (with the Finance Ministry) but it's not up to them. It's up to the political parties," Eftekhar said.

    Guest speakers at tomorrow's meeting include Finance Minister Takis Klerides and Donato Chiarini, Head of Delegation of the EU Commission to Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Vassiliou in London for knee op

    CHIEF EU negotiator George Vassiliou flew to England on Sunday for an operation on his broken knee cartilage.

    Accompanied by his wife and by a doctor from the Nicosia General Hospital, Vassiliou yesterday met with the surgeon who would carry out the operation, at The Wellington Hospital in London.

    The problem was originally diagnosed as cartilage damage, and Vassiliou and doctors had hoped treatment in Cyprus would be sufficient. But the knee failed to respond and further investigations discovered the cartilage was in fact broken.

    The operation is expected to take place on Thursday and require Vassiliou to spend one night at the private hospital. However, a party spokesman was confident that he would be fit enough to return to Cyprus on Sunday.

    The costs are being covered by Vassiliou himself.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] New computer virus on the loose

    COMPUTER users in Cyprus are being warned about the return of a new version of a destructive virus, which has hit the island this week after being launched in China in the past 10 days.

    Local companies have reported the virus appearing several times on their Microsoft Outlook email programmes.

    The virus was first discovered in November, but the latest version, which was designed to delete and overwrite files, wasn't discovered until last month.

    Known as Klez.g, Klez.h, Klez.e and Klez.k, depending on the security advisory, the newest incarnation has spread worldwide, sending itself in e- mail messages with infected documents attached.

    "The worm scans the disks of an infected computer and, depending on a set of conditions, attaches a file to each infected e-mail it distributes," said an Internet advisory on the virus. The worm arrives in an e-mail message with one of 120 possible subject lines. In many circumstances, the worm doesn't need the victim to open it in order to run. Instead, it takes advantage of a 12-month-old vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook, known as the Automatic Execution of Embedded MIME Type bug, to open itself automatically on un-patched versions of Outlook.

    Using its own mail program, the worm then sends itself off to e-mail addresses in the user's files. In addition, it will use the addresses to create a fake "From:" field in the e-mail message, disguising the actual source of the e-mail. The worm also attempts to disable antivirus software by deleting registry keys, stopping running processes and removing virus- definition files.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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