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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, May 8, 2002


  • [01] Minister orders crackdown on hooliganism
  • [02] Bases deny Bethlehem militants will be transferred through Cyprus
  • [03] Barber in custody after youths shot in Easter row
  • [04] Papapetrou: we can't ban cross-community trading
  • [05] Snake hitches lift in taxi
  • [06] Papapetrou: no PKK in Cyprus
  • [07] Man accused of smuggling methadone
  • [08] Thousands treated for Easter bingeing
  • [09] Public hospitals poaching our staff, clinics complain
  • [10] Cyprus and Italy stress co-operation in fight against illegal immigration
  • [11] Talks resume ahead of Annan visit
  • [12] Easter accidents up on last year
  • [13] Archbishop doing better

  • [01] Minister orders crackdown on hooliganism

    By George Psyllides

    THE POLICE are to be given the right to deny entry or remove fans from a stadium if they suspect they might cause trouble, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis announced yesterday.

    Koshis was speaking after a meeting held to discuss ways of stemming hooliganism with Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides, Police Chief Andreas Angelides and Sports Federation (KOA) Permanent Secretary Costas Papacostas.

    After a long discussion, the two ministers decided to activate a special law, passed in 1994, which outlawed verbal abuse and physical violence in and around sports facilities.

    Ioannides said the enforcement of this legislation meant that the officer charged with the stadium's security would have the right to deny entry to anyone he suspected might create trouble or had been involved in previous hooliganism incidents.

    Ioannides added it had been decided to appoint an expert committee to look into the feasibility of introducing a spectator identity card, without which no one would be allowed into or around the stadium.

    The committee should complete its study in one month, Ioannides said.

    Pressed to say whether police could kick out a fan, Koshis said: "of course they can, even if they (police) just suspect that this person could create trouble."

    Koshis said such an action would not be a human rights violation and that no civil liberties would be infringed, as police would be acting based on information or on people's actions.

    Angelides said his force would enforce the law's provisions, and police presence would be assured, provided there was financial support.

    Ioannides said that the cost of policing stadiums this year had surpassed 1 million, compared to a forecast of 400,000, which was cut from KOA's budget.

    The measures follow the recent events at the Tsirion stadium in Limassol where a 25-year old APOEL fan, Akis Sophocleos, suffered serious head injuries in violence that erupted before the match between AEL and APOEL.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Bases deny Bethlehem militants will be transferred through Cyprus

    THE BRITISH Sovereign Bases (SBA) yesterday denied reports that Palestinian militants would be transferred from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to exile in Italy through Cyprus.

    Reuters reported earlier yesterday that Rome had gone as far as blocking its air space to a British military aircraft it said was waiting in Cyprus to transport the Palestinians.

    But the report was rejected by the SBA as being "untrue and incorrect".

    SBA Spokesman Major Tony Brumwell said: "I can state that at no stage would any British aircraft have departed from Cyprus with Palestinians on board as has been reported."

    Asked whether the British government was involved in any way in the procedure of moving the Palestinians from the church, Brumwell said that he had no authority to comment on the matter and directed all questions to the British High Commission.

    Likewise, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said that authorities had no information on Palestinians being flown to Italy through the SBA.

    "We do not know if they will notify us at some future stage," Koshis said.

    He added: "So far we haven't received any notice."

    The Italian official, who remained anonymous, told Reuters that his country had been kept in the dark about an agreement to end the siege in Bethlehem and would not accept any Palestinians in exile until sufficient details were given.

    According to Palestinian sources quoted by Reuters, under an accord approved by President Yasser Arafat, 13 militants inside the church would be exiled to Italy and 26 others would be sent to the Gaza Strip.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Barber in custody after youths shot in Easter row

    A 56-YEAR-old barber has been detained in connection with a shooting incident on Saturday night in which two youths were injured.

    Demetris Melas was remanded in custody for two days on Easter Sunday after his arrest over the alleged assault and injury of Yiannis Romanakis, 17, and 19-year-old Marios Charalambous, alias Buddha.

    Melas allegedly took shots at the two youths with a hunting shotgun because they wanted to light a traditional Easter bonfire in an empty plot near his home in Larnaca.

    The court heard that Melas reacted because the youths, around a dozen in total, were planning to throw camping gas canisters and firecrackers into the fire.

    Earlier on, Melas had argued with the group after the bonfire was lit at 7.15pm instead of midnight.

    Melas allegedly chased the youths with a knife, and when they refused to leave he went home and got his hunting shotgun - a smaller calibre designed for hunting birds - and begun shooting at Romanakis and Charalambous from close range.

    The two were rushed to hospital with pellet wounds to the chest, back, and arms.

    They were treated and released, police said.

    The investigating officer told the court that Melas, when testifying, had threatened to disembowel the youths, and that he had no regrets for his actions.

    The court remanded the suspect in custody for two days and not three as the police had requested.

    His friends and relatives reacted after the incident, accusing police of not enforcing order despite their repeated calls.

    They said the youths were loitering around the area almost every night, swearing and making noise until the late hours.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Papapetrou: we can't ban cross-community trading

    By Melina Demetriou

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday warned that Cyprus could be in breach of international law if it banned a Turkish Cypriot from conducting business with a Greek Cypriot.

    The government is studying a proposal by the Brussels Group that would allow Greek and Turkish Cypriot farmers to do business. The rapprochement group last week called on the government to give the green light for cross- community trading in animals, dairy and meat products.

    "If we forbid a citizen to conduct business just because he is Turkish Cypriot, Cyprus might be answerable to an international court if there was an appeal against it," said Papapetrou, noting that, under the Constitution, all citizens had the right to do business on the island.

    "The matter of cross-community trading must not be used as a means of populism or for internal consumption because that would put us under great danger," he warned.

    "International decisions condemning the other side could in that case be used against us," Papapetrou explained.

    The Government Spokesman suggested that the government should handle this issue very carefully, adding that, "we are acting in line with the law which says that cross-community trading is not illegal."

    He noted there were a series of practical issues concerning the proposed opening of the market, which the government had to address, mainly having to do with health and safety regulations.

    Greek Cypriot farmers have slammed the proposal of the Brussels Group, fearing such a development would increase competition.

    But the Group argues that the opening of the market will keep prices down, benefit the consumer, and boost the dairy industry, which has suffered losses because of milk shortages.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Snake hitches lift in taxi

    A 53-YEAR-old taxi driver got the shock of his life on Monday after discovering a snake in his cab vehicle apparently trying to hitch a free ride to Nicosia.

    Evgenios Christodoulou had just dropped off a passenger in the village of Agridia in the Limassol district and got out of his taxi to get paid, leaving the door open briefly.

    Christodoulou got into the cab and drove off but when he got as far as Zygi in the Larnaca district, he noticed a black "thing" crawling on the dashboard, then hitting him on the throat.

    "I was shocked for a moment, but then I grabbed it from the neck; it wrapped itself around my arm and I squeezed its head," Christodoulou said.

    Christodoulou continued driving his taxi towards Nicosia, but decided to stop at the Latsia weighing station - around 40 kilometres later - to ask for help from officers.

    They discovered the snake was dead, apparently from the pressure, but Christodoulou was taken to hospital where he was vaccinated, although black snakes are not poisonous and are considered to bring good luck.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Papapetrou: no PKK in Cyprus

    By Alex Mita

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday there were no active branches of the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) in Cyprus.

    The PKK was included last week on the European Union's list of banned "terrorist" groups, whose assets are to be frozen under United Nations rules.

    "There is no trace of the PKK here," Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail. "No organisation, no offices. There is a committee of solidarity with the people of Kurdistan, which is something else," he said.

    "Cyprus' position and policy is that it harmonises itself with the positions of the EU" regarding the description of any organisation as terrorist or otherwise; this also applies for "the relevant bank accounts that may exist", Papapetrou added.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides refused to comment on an amendment to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and whether the PKK's change of name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress would still class them as terrorists.

    The House amended the bill implementing the convention to distinguish between terrorist groups and liberation struggles, with deputies then criticising the bill for lacking a clear definition of terrorism - a point they said could create future disputes.

    The decision to include the PKK on the EU terror list has caused outrage among Kurdish activists, who warned the EU against the ban saying it could spark outrage among the many Kurdish immigrants living in the 15-nation bloc.

    Yesterday, Kurdish sympathisers marched in protest to the EU delegation in Nicosia, chanting, "we're not terrorists," and demanding freedom for their leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is in prison in Turkey awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the death sentence.

    The Kurds fear Turkey will use the inclusion of the PKK on Europe's terror list as an excuse to annihilate them.

    EU delegation head Ambassador Donato Chiarini received two representatives of the movement, who gave him a document signed by the local Kurds condemning their inclusion on the EU terror list.

    Chiarini assured the representatives that the EU would not allow Turkey to take advantage of the PKK's inclusion on the terrorist list, saying it would pressure Turkey to make amendments to its Constitution in favour of Kurdish rights.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Man accused of smuggling methadone

    A 45-YEAR-old Larnaca bar owner has been detained in connection with attempting to smuggle 70 methadone tablets through airport customs in his body, it was reported yesterday.

    Dinos Loizou arrived from London in the early hours of Easter Sunday but was intercepted by officers who had been tipped off.

    Officers searched the suspect and his luggage but came up empty and decided to take him to Larnaca hospital for X-rays.

    From the X-rays, police allegedly discovered the presence of an object in his stomach, which later turned out to be a condom stuffed with 70 methadone tablets.

    Loizou was arrested and brought before court on suspicion of illegal import and illegal possession of drugs and possession with intend to supply.

    The suspect claimed the drugs were for his own use and that he had got them with a doctor's prescription.

    The state prosecutor, however, wondered why Loizou needed to swallow the drugs if they were indeed acquired with a prescription,

    Police told the court they were in contact with British Interpol in order to locate the supplier.

    The court remanded the suspect in custody for three days.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Thousands treated for Easter bingeing

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    HOSPITALS all over the country received thousands of patients demanding immediate attention as a result of overeating during the Easter break, but doctors said yesterday the figures were down on previous years.

    The surge in stomach grievances came after the annual meat fest, which followed the 50-day fasting period before Easter. From Good Friday until yesterday, Nicosia General Hospital admitted in total over 1,700 patients, a substantial number of whom were treated for stomach complaints.

    But the head of the Emergency Department at Nicosia General Hospital, Costas Antoniades, highlighted this year's notable reduction in the number of cases of overeating compared to previous years. He put this down to an effort by the medical services to increase public awareness of the dangers of overeating by giving out warnings not to eat too much and take a measured "fall off the fasting wagon".

    Antoniades denied accusations of long delays by staff in treating patients and insisted that all serious cases were dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner.

    Limassol Hospital, however, had an increase in symptoms resulting from over- consumption compared to last year while Paphos Hospital Emergency Department recorded around 1,000 incidents. Larnaca Hospital admitted fewer patients with symptoms of overeating than all the other hospitals.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Public hospitals poaching our staff, clinics complain

    By Melina Demetriou

    PRIVATE clinics are accusing the Health Ministry of giving jobs to their nurses, leaving them understaffed.

    In comments published in Simerini yesterday, Private Clinics Association chairman Andreas Constantinides accused the ministry of hiring private sector nurses on a regular basis, sometimes without giving them any time to give notice.

    "We want to be Europeans but the Health Ministry acts with eastern slyness, " he said, adding that the situation left private hospitals understaffed.

    "Clinics' owners are desperately looking for nurses but they can't find any, " said Constantinides.

    He noted that a new law making it mandatory for private clinics to employ qualified nurses could not be implemented as things stood.

    A clinic manager yesterday charged the state nursing school only served public hospitals' needs.

    "They admit 175 students every year whom they plan to appoint to hospital positions later. We have asked them to train twice as many so that there are some left to work in the private sector but our demands have not been met," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    The manager explained that junior nurses worked at clinics for a few years until they got an offer from state hospitals.

    "We give them as much money as the government does, but working conditions at hospitals are considered to be better," he added.

    The clinic's manager further complained that the government did not allow private health centres to hire foreigners to cover their needs.

    Commenting on the accusations, Medical Services director Constantinos Mallis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that, "nurses have the right to work anywhere they wish."

    Mallis admitted, however, that the nursing school was unable to train enough people to cover the needs of both the public and the private sector.

    "There are not enough teaching rooms and there are not enough teachers," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Cyprus and Italy stress co-operation in fight against illegal immigration

    ITALIAN Minister of Communities Policy and Integration Rocco Buttiglione yesterday hailed co-operation between Cyprus and Italy, "especially in combating illegal immigration".

    Buttiglone acknowledged Cyprus' "good will" to participate in the EU common policy against illegal immigration. The statements followed his working lunch with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    The Italian minister, who is in Nicosia for a two-day official visit, discussed measures the two countries could take in order to combat illegal immigration, an increasingly serious problem for all European states. Cassoulides said that illegal immigration and trafficking of human beings had been discussed and that they talked about measures the two countries could take in co-operation to face the problem. He added yesterday's discussion continued a previous dialogue he had shared with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

    Buttiglone expressed his country's wish to "fight illegal immigration making it impossible for illegal immigrants to reach Italy," adding that illegal immigrants often became involved in prostitution and other illegal activities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Talks resume ahead of Annan visit

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash began the fourth round of their direct talks yesterday afternoon, in the presence of the UN Secretary-general's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who returned to the island earlier in the day.De Soto had taken advantage of the Easter break in the talks to brief UN chief Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council in New York.Annan plans to come to Cyprus and meet the two leaders in an effort to make decisive progress towards meeting the June target date for an agreement. He is expected to arrive on May 15, on his way to East Timor, and stay for 2-3 days. He plans to call on the two leaders separately and to meet them jointly.Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks since mid-January.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Easter accidents up on last year

    A TOTAL of 38 accidents, including one death, were recorded during the Easter period between Good Friday and Easter Monday - almost double the figures for last year when 23 accidents were reported with no fatalities.

    This year, one person was killed, 15 people were seriously injured and 29 others sustained light injuries.

    Compared to last Easter, accidents increased three-fold in the Nicosia area and doubled in Limassol, while Paphos experienced fewer accidents and almost half the number of injuries. During the four-day period, 167 written warnings were issued to traffic offenders as part of the Traffic Department's new public relations policy.

    During the late hours of Easter Sunday, a fatal accident occurred at the crossroads between Griva Dighenis and Severis Avenues in Nicosia. The victim, 35-year-old Demetris Demetriou from the Strovolos Refugee Estate, was driving home from work on his motorcycle when he was hit by a car driven by Costas Eleftheriou, 19 from Lymbia. The impact caused Demetriou's helmet strapping to break and the rider was killed on the spot. The driver of the car was breathalysed but found to be clear of any alcohol. Eleftheriou had three other passengers in his car, none of whom were injured.

    Four traffic accidents occurred on Easter Monday sending five people to hospital for treatment. Police are investigating one such case where a 16- year-old was injured while fleeing from police on a stolen motorcycle on the Limassol-Paphos motorway near the exit for Episkopi village. His 18- year-old-co-driver remained in hospital for treatment while the rider was released after being brought to the Limassol Emergency Department.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [13] Archbishop doing better

    THE ARCHBISHOP'S health has shown slight improvement, it was reported yesterday.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos suffered head and back injuries after a heavy fall a couple of weeks ago.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday that the doctors treating the Archbishop believed he would fully recover and that he had not suffered any irreversible damage from the fall.

    He added that due to the Archbishop's age and his history of health problems it would take a long time for him to recover.

    Improvement would be gradual but nothing sensational should be expected, Savvides said.

    The minister stressed that for the time being Chrysostomos would continue his therapy in Cyprus and that any decision to fly him abroad would be taken by his doctors in co-operation with the ministry and the Holy Synod.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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