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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-09

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 9, 2002


  • [01] Farm trade with north 'would be powerful gesture'
  • [02] Antenna work underway as Matsakis looks on
  • [03] Christodoulou takes over at the Central Bank
  • [04] Britain refuses to follow Irish precedent on flights to the north
  • [05] MOT forcing people to buy new cars
  • [06] Students accused of making school bombs

  • [01] Farm trade with north 'would be powerful gesture'

    By Soteris Charalambous

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday confirmed that the Cabinet would be issuing a response to calls to allow the trade of dairy and farm produce with the north.

    The proposals, drawn up by the 'Brussels Group' - a bi-communal business association - say opening up the trade would be strong political gesture for both communities and could cut into the island's 45 million annual import bill in the sector.

    Papapetrou said President Glafcos Clerides had studied the proposals and that he had asked the relevant ministries to produce reports on the practicality of implementing the suggestions.

    Constandinos Lordos, a leading figure in the Brussels Group, yesterday sent the Cyprus Mail an outline of the 59-page document and discussed the issues surrounding the suggestions.

    The document focused on the potential benefits of internal movement and trading of locally produced goods, and addressed the health and safety issues surrounding such a practice, as well as the wider political and legal issues its adoption would involve.

    In relation to safety, the document pointed to EU provisions placing responsibility for safety of produce with the producers and requiring record keeping to establish accountability in the case of product recall.

    The document also focused on the positive political implications of trade between the two sides and the fact that it could be seen to demonstrate the practicality of the two communities cohabiting on a united island.

    However, Lordos was keen to underline that "the document was not an attempt to supplement the political will of the government, as it was a proposal made to the government".

    With regards to the legality of trading with farmers from the north, the document pointed to the Attorney-general's representations to the House of Representatives, "which clarifies that internal trade through the green line of locally produced goods was legally permitted," Lordos said.

    He also dismissed suggestions of an embargo on trading as a matter that had been confused with the issue of illegal ports in the north of the island, which have no relevance to internal trading.

    The document also pointed to the annual import of dairy and farm produce worth 45 million as another compelling reason to implement the changes. By accessing produce from the north, the document suggests imports can be significantly reduced and in the case of the dairy industry shortages due to extra demand can be alleviated.

    Lordos said he was "hopeful" about the proposals being adopted and that establishment of healthy trade links within the island would be evidence to Turkish Cypriots that co-habitation without a political boundary was possible for the two communities.

    The President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Ali Erel, said his Chamber was ready to play part in the proposal put forward by the Brussels Group.

    "It is a good idea because we should start some kind of trading between the two sides for the benefit of the two communities," he said after a meeting on Tuesday between the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, adding, "it is only good results that we could get out of trading between us".

    KEVE President Vassilis Rologis noted that this matter was in the hands of the island's political leadership.

    "At this moment, we await UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's visit to the island (on May 14) and we should be cautious of what we say or do," Rologis added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Antenna work underway as Matsakis looks on

    By Alex Mita

    BRITISH forces yesterday began rehabilitation work on the Akrotiri Salt Lake antenna farm, under the watchful eye of DIKO deputy and anti-bases campaigner Marios Matsakis, who visited the site in the morning.

    The project involves the removal of the final 14 of 32 existing antenna masts, which will be replaced with eight new ones.

    British Forces said in a statement that after the removal of the masts, the ground would then be prepared for eventual rehabilitation.

    The news release said expert advice from the government's Forestry Department and Environmental Service would be sought on how best to restore the habitat and noted that the project would be incorporated within the Environmental Management Strategy for the Salt Lake area.

    However, Matsakis insists the British will have to move all their antennas from the Salt Lake area.

    "It is my intention and purpose to have all the antennas removed from the coast of Limassol," he said, warning the British would face the fury of the local community if they went ahead with their plans to raise new antennas.

    Matsakis - who last summer led violent demonstrations against the antenna plans - said yesterday he would not take any measures to prevent the bases' work, but would wait for the removal of the antennas by the British.

    In a radio interview, Matsakis said that if the British wanted their antennas, they should install them within the fenced off area within the boundaries of the Akrotiri Base.

    The bases insisted that "the site on the West side of the Akrotiri road, where this work is taking place, is an area already in use for communication purposes and is distinct from the site of the proposed new antenna."

    The DIKO deputy was also critical of the Red Arrows aerobatics team currently training over Akrotiri, saying they caused noise and air pollution.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Christodoulou takes over at the Central Bank

    NEW Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday formally took office from his predecessor, Afxentis Afxentiou who has retired after four consecutive runs as governor.

    Former Interior Minister Christodoulou said that as of July 1, a new state of order was expected at the Central Bank, with increased or full independence, institutional independence with special emphasis on authorities and operations, and economic independence.

    He vowed to concentrate his efforts in three main areas: maintaining monetary stability, meeting the deadlines for harmonisation with the EU's acquis communautaire, and the continuing effort for the smooth operation and development of the banking system. Christodoulou noted that the Central Bank now faced an "important challenge" regarding the harmonisation of the banking sector with the acquis, and expressed his determination to deal with this challenge successfully. The new Governor promised to give "special attention and emphasis" to the flawless operation of the banking system, noting that Cyprus must live up to its name in providing facilities for international activities such as investments, business and services.

    Afxentiou gave his fully-fledged support to his successor, pointing to his 40 years of experience in the civil service and praising him for his successes to date.

    Asked whether he was considering incorporating the Cyprus pound with the euro, Christodoulou replied "the full integration of the system is a matter of time, taking into consideration the full association of the Cyprus pound with the ECU since 1991 and now with the euro. When Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU, within two years and as long as it meets the Maastricht indices, it will become a member of the Eurozone or the Economic and Currency Union."

    Christodoulou added he would not rush into any hasty interest rate cuts, waiting to be fully informed of the need for such a reduction.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Britain refuses to follow Irish precedent on flights to the north

    BRITAIN said yesterday it would not be following the Irish government's example in banning flights ending up in the Turkish-occupied north of the island.

    A spokesman for the British High Commission in Nicosia said that while direct flights between the UK and the north were prohibited under international law, if flights first landed in Turkey, there was little reason to ban them.

    Last month, the Irish government set a precedent by banning indirect flights by Cyprus Turkish Airlines, which had been due to begin on May 20, on the grounds that the "ultimate destination" was the occupied areas.

    The Irish government said approval of the flights to the unrecognised 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' would have the country in breach of UN resolutions and would not be allowed to go ahead.

    Other, mainly British, charter airlines get around the problem of flights to the north by landing first in Turkey, which is legal, and then operating a separate flight to the occupied areas.

    Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minster Nicos Rolandis said the actions of the Irish government on the issue marked a precedent which other countries could adopt.

    However, the High Commission spokesman said yesterday Britain had no plans to follow suit. "Our government does not restrict citizens' rights to choose how they get to certain places," the spokesman said. "If international aviation law said it was dangerous or whatever, we would, but it doesn't. If it did I doubt they would be able to land at Heathrow."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] MOT forcing people to buy new cars

    By George Psyllides

    THE introduction of the MOT test is behind the 29 per cent increase in new cars sold in the first three months of the year, it was reported yesterday.

    According to a report by the government Statistics Service, registrations of private saloon cars were up by 38.5 per cent, reaching 6,510, compared to 4,702 for the first three months of 2001. Of these, 1,905 - 29.3 per cent - were new and 4,605 were imported used cars.

    The Transport Department suggested that that the MOT was the reason for the increase in car sales, as many owners of older vehicles found it would not be cost-effective to spend money for old cars to pass the test.

    This suggestion is also backed by the large number of vehicles that did not show up for MOT.

    At the same time, commercial vehicle and lorry registrations for the first three months of the year reached 2,209 compared to 1,948 for 2001 while van registrations increased by 12.9 per cent, reaching 1,993.

    Meanwhile the Communications Ministry was looking to amend the law governing the inspection of vans and double cab pick-ups in order to transfer their inspection to private MOT garages.

    Current legislation only covers private saloon cars, and excludes around 100,000 vans and pick-ups, which are inspected by the state.

    Since the introduction of the MOT, around 72,099 vehicles have been called for inspection while the transport department has began notifying the owners of cars with registrations SA1 to SZ999 that their cars are up for MOT.

    The MOT test was introduced last November and is expected to cover 240,000 cars over four years old.

    Out of the 72,099 cars called, 27,298 were over 20 years old.

    Only 35 per cent of those appeared for inspection, though the vast majority of those passed the MOT.

    The department has warned that drivers whose cars have been inspected and have failed, or who did not show up, would still be fined if caught on the road without the MOT sticker, even if their road tax was still valid.

    There are currently 74 state-approved MOT garages, while 51 more have shown interest in carrying out the inspections.

    From the MOT, the government is looking to put over 7.4 million in its coffers, adding to that the amount stemming from the inspections of vans and pick-ups once the law is amended.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Students accused of making school bombs

    LARNACA police yesterday arrested two 18-year-old students and a boy of 15 on suspicion of possessing explosives with intent to cause damage to public property.

    Acting on a tip-off, police arrested one of the students, who admitted he had built two explosive devices using powder from his father's shotgun shells, and set it off together with another friend in the Drosia Municipal School.

    Further investigation resulted in the arrest of a 15-year-old, who allegedly made an explosive device and set it off at the school with a friend of his in April.

    Larnaca Police Commissioner Nicos Stelicos said police were worried about young people being able to build explosive devices using powder from shotgun shells.

    Moreover, police are particularly concerned at the use of small gas cylinders, which could result in loss of human life.

    "These serious events are troubling us," Stelicos said. "I believe that apart from the police, the government and all the relevant bodies, including parents, should take action to prevent damage to school property."

    The students remanded in custody for two days.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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