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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, May 10, 2002


  • [01] Prison Governor resigns
  • [02] Denktash dismisses 'deadlock' talk
  • [03] Turkish authorities 'harass Cyprus ships in Bosphorus'
  • [04] New Interior Minister pledges service to the public
  • [05] Banks face 'unsettled run-up to accession'
  • [06] Archbishop to go abroad, despite relatives' complaints
  • [07] Debate on trade proposal 'pointless' at the moment - Clerides
  • [08] Foreign pilots being asked for good behaviour note from police back home
  • [09] Eight youngsters held over school break-in

  • [01] Prison Governor resigns

    By George Psyllides

    PRISON Governor Harris Themistocleous yesterday resigned after a protracted confrontation with the Justice Ministry, which had effectively gagged him by forbidding him to speak to the media unless he had official clearance.

    Despite repeated efforts Themistocleous could not be reached last night though a source close to the outgoing governor told the Cyprus Mail that he had handed in his resignation at around 6.15pm.

    The move had been expected for some time now from the outspoken criminologist and former military intelligence officer known for his no- nonsense approach on prison issues.

    The gag had been unearthed by the Cyprus Mail in February during a routine enquiry.

    Themistocleous revealed that he had received a letter from the ministry forbidding him to speak to the press unless he had their permission.

    The ministry promptly denied gagging him, claiming they had merely pointed out to Themistocleous the procedures that should be followed when speaking to the media, which meant that he should first clear all his answers with his superiors.

    The ministry failed to mention the letter included a paragraph telling Themistocleous that he was not allowed to express his "thoughts or views" on issues pertaining to the prison.

    According to reports, Themistocleous had sent the ministry a letter through his lawyer, requesting they withdraw the letter but to no avail.

    The same source said yesterday that Themistocleous could not go on like that and that it was a matter of honour.

    His resignation letter is said to be comprehensive laying out carefully all the reasons that led him to resign.

    "He is not the kind of man to be gagged; he's an honourable person," the source said.

    "He is somebody who wants to do good job but feels that his hands are tied behind his back."

    Since taking over as prison director in January 2000, Themistocleous, a trained criminologist who spent 27 years in Canada before returning in Cyprus, has not shied away from the media spotlight, talking openly about prison problems.

    He said from the beginning that he current correctional system lacked a lot of things such as aftercare for released inmates and parole officers to help them reintegrate into society.

    Themistocleous had always spoken strongly on issues such as life imprisonment, psychiatric treatment of prisoners, and sex in jail among others.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Denktash dismisses 'deadlock' talk

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday dismissed the government's talk of a deadlock in the ongoing talks, four days ahead of UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan's visit to the island.

    "I do not know why it is assumed things are going badly," Denktash said following yesterday's meeting with President Glafcos Clerides as part of the regular meetings under way since January this year.

    Rejecting comments made on Wednesday by Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou that the talks had achieved very little in over three months and faced a danger of deadlock, Denktash said: "It is his appraisal. When we ask him (Papapetrou) if he is pessimistic, he tells us 'no'. That's a story."

    Denktash said he was looking forward to Annan's visit, which is expected to begin on Tuesday. "I believe it will be a very beneficial visit. He will listen to both sides and he will meet us together," he said.

    Annan will visit the island next week in a bid to stop the process from stalling.

    Papapetrou said on Wednesday that there had been "no convergence in the three and a half months of efforts and that both sides were essentially at the point they started from".

    UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto said this week that Annan would like to encourage the two leaders to press on and to come up with something tangible by the end of next month.

    Despite signals at the start of the year of a possible resolution of the dispute, diplomats now say the talks are likely to overshoot their June breakthrough target.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Turkish authorities 'harass Cyprus ships in Bosphorus'

    By Alex Mita

    TURKISH authorities fined a Cyprus-flagged vessel in transit through the Bosphorus Straits yesterday, after her crew was allegedly caught dumping waste in the area.

    The 25,000-ton bulk carrier, the Marianik-K, belongs to Greek-based company Seabound Maritime, but is registered in Cyprus.

    A company spokesman told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that under no circumstances was the ship dumping waste, claiming Turkish authorities had a habit of creating problems for Cyprus-flagged vessels in transit through the Bosphorus Straits.

    "The Turks claim that we were dumping dirty water but we categorically deny their allegations," the spokesman said, adding: "these tactics are regularly used by the Turks, in an effort to hinder the passage of any vessel under the Cyprus flag."

    This in not the first time that Cypriot-flagged ships have encountered problems from the Turkish authorities.

    Last month, the European Union called on Turkey to lift a 15-year ban on Cypriot-flagged ships calling at Turkish ports.

    The ban was first imposed by the Turks in 1987 and included the banning of Cyprus ships from calling at Turkish ports for loading and changing crew.

    In 1998, Turkey took the ban even further, extending it to include ships of any flag, which had first called at a Cyprus port before travelling directly to Turkey.

    But International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conventions call for the free transit of Cyprus-flagged vessels through the Straits.

    However, Merchant Marine Surveyor, Yiannis Karitzis, of the Merchant Shipping Department (MSD) told the Cyprus Mail that Turkish authorities as well authorities in Cyprus retain the right to investigate and impose fines on any vessel they feel has been causing pollution in their waters.

    "I can't really say for sure whether Cypriot ships usually face problems with Turkish authorities," Karitzis said.

    The Cyprus Registry is the sixth largest in the world with some 2,000 vessels.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] New Interior Minister pledges service to the public

    By Soteris Charalambous

    ANDREAS Panayiotou was named and sworn in by President Glafcos Clerides yesterday. He replaces Christodoulos Christodoulou, who was appointed as governor of the Central Bank last week.

    Panayiotou, a career civil servant, said in his first statement as Minister that he would work impartially and serve the public in a fair and even manner.

    President Clerides congratulated Panayiotou on his appointment, adding he was certain the new Minister would carry out his duties in a responsible manner.

    Panayiotou cited his past experience at the Interior Ministry, where he held the position of deputy, then permanent secretary between January 1999 and May 2002, as giving him the expertise and knowledge to continue and carry forward the work of his predecessor.

    "I can assure you that I shall execute my duties in an impartial manner and shall serve every person fairly," Panayiotou said, adding that he would make every effort to meet the expectations of the people.

    "I will continue working at the same rate, if not at a faster rate, to implement all development programmes and offer a better service to the public," the new minister said.

    Panayiotou, who was born in the Nicosia suburb of Aglandja in 1940, studied geography, geology and economic geology in Athens, London and Canada. In 1984 he joined the civil service at the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, later serving as Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and Public Order and the Interior Ministry, and as chairman of the Council for the Study of Relaxations. Panayiotou has also served as chairman of the board of directors of the English School.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Banks face 'unsettled run-up to accession'

    THE OUTLOOK for the Cyprus Banking system is unsettled due to its sensitivity to external shocks including tourism receipts and the risk of non-accession to the EU, Moody's Investor Services said yesterday.

    In an announcement issued in Limassol, the bank-rating service said that a saturated domestic operating environment and inherited cost structure were inhibiting domestic franchise growth for Cypriot banks.

    "Following from years of operating in a protected environment, the banking system is characterised by high bank branch penetration and high credit levels relative to GDP," said Hank Calenti, Senior Analyst and co-author of the report.

    "Sensitivity to external shocks that envelop the financial system is an additional characteristic of the banking system," he added. "Although we believe admission to the European Union is highly likely, non-accession risk sensitivity will increase as the EU entry date approaches, until such time that all issues relating to possible EU accession are resolved."

    Liberalisation of the financial sector is providing new opportunities, although also presenting new risks, Moody's said. Recent financial sector liberalisation is enabling Cyprus banks properly to price loans and deposits, while bank expansion abroad is diversifying revenues and diminishing the sensitivity to systemic shocks, the report said.

    "As the negative consequences of the bursting of the domestic stock market bubble linger on, rapid expansion in Greece offers the potential of substantial diversification benefits for Cypriot banks," said Boyd Anderson, Associate Analyst and another co-author of the report. However, Moody's expects that increasing competition within the sensitive domestic operating environment will challenge the Cyprus banks as they expand abroad, even though competition, particularly in Greece, is likely to be fierce.

    "As such, the capital resources of some Cypriot banks are likely to come under pressure as they aggressively expand abroad," said Calenti.

    Against this backdrop, is the government's willingness to support rated institutions as their foreign expansion increases, Moody's said. However, according to the agency, complete adoption and vigorous implementation of EU accession requirements are likely to strengthen the Cypriot financial system.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Archbishop to go abroad, despite relatives' complaints

    By Alex Mita

    ARCHBISHOP Chrysostomos is almost definitely set to go abroad for further treatment to injuries he sustained to his head and spine after a fall nearly two weeks ago, despite complaints from his relatives that they had not been consulted.

    After a meeting with the Holy Synod yesterday, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said he had requested the visit of two doctors from the UK to assess the Archbishop's health, leading to speculation that Chrysostomos would be taken to Britain.

    Savvides said the Archbishop was already receiving the best care possible, but stressed that it was time to have him transferred to a hospital with more facilities, adding hundreds of people had been sent to such hospitals by the Health Ministry in the past with positive results.

    But despite the assurances from the Health Ministry, close relatives of the Archbishop were annoyed at not having a say in the decision.

    However, Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos said the Holy Synod was the Archbishop's family since he was the head of the Cyprus Orthodox Church, and his spiritual family had given its full support to Savvides to act in the best interest of its leader.

    "We have no doubt of the love that the Archbishop's blood relatives hold for him," the Bishop of Paphos said.

    "Nevertheless, the Archbishop's position as the head of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus gives us the right to have the last word regarding his well- being. The Health Minister has our full support to act in the best interest of the Archbishop."

    Cardiologist Costas Zambartas said the Archbishop's health was steadily improving but stressed that intense physiotherapy was required for a quick recovery.

    "Archbishop Chrysostomos has been informed of the possibility that he may be transferred abroad," he said.

    "He has no mobility problems, he is communicating with people around him, but don't forget, he is 75 years old. He has been bedridden for 12 days now and is very tired."

    According to Savvides, the Archbishop is fit to travel and will be transferred abroad "as soon as possible," and under strict security.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Debate on trade proposal 'pointless' at the moment - Clerides

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday said any discussion on whether to allow the trade of dairy and farm produce with the north was pointless at the present time.

    Clerides' intervention followed days of dispute between various sides about the advisability of such action.

    The proposal to trade with the occupied north was tabled by the 'Brussels Group' - a bi-communal business association - who suggested that opening up the trade would be a strong political gesture for both communities and could cut the island's 45 million annual import bill in the sector.

    The proposal was strongly opposed by ruling DISY, whose leader Nicos Anastassiades on Wednesday said his party felt that such a proposal would not appear to be helpful.

    "On the contrary it could cause problems and ought perhaps to be avoided," Anastassiades added.

    Clerides yesterday said that any discussion over the issue was "pointless at the present time since no decision has been taken".

    Clerides said the proposal had been referred to the relevant ministries, which would study it and present their views before the Cabinet.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides said yesterday it was the right of all citizens freely to express their opinion.

    Markides added that if the government eventually adopted the proposal it would have to submit legislation to the House, which in turn would examine the bill.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Foreign pilots being asked for good behaviour note from police back home

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT has struck another blow to flying schools by demanding that all foreign students and visitors who want to use their Private Pilots Licence (PPL) on the island produce a reference from police in their own countries.

    Several restrictions imposed by the government in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US were eventually lifted in March, but flying schools say business is now being badly affected by the new measure.

    Avgoustinos Avgousti, operator of Griffon Aviation in Paphos, said yesterday that while foreign students could be warned in advance, passing trade from tourists who are flying enthusiasts had come to a standstill.

    He said that by the time a tourist came to rent a plane and set about obtaining a reference from back home, their holiday would be over.

    "Basically the notice we got from the ministerial committee states that someone who wants to rent a plane must have a clear record from their country of residence," he said. "I'm sure that in the case of Britons, Scotland Yard doesn't even want to know. They have much more serious issues to deal with."

    Avgousti also cited a case involving a prospective student from Oman, whose embassy here refused to issue him the necessary paper, forcing him to return to his own country to obtain it there. "A person turning up on holiday can't do this," he said.

    Avgousti said business has been badly affected, adding he felt it was a blatant violation of human rights. He said it came at a time when the authorities had eased restrictions at the island's airports and had gone back to not stamping EU passports in order to ease passenger traffic at immigration counters, which had lately become seriously congested with the onset of the tourist season.

    In March, Britain asked Cyprus to look at lifting what it deemed an unnecessary ban on flights by light aircraft in and out of Cyprus

    The move came after a complaint by a British-owned offshore company that the ban prevented it from using a corporate light aircraft to visit agents in the region.

    A blanket ban was imposed on foreigners flying all light aircraft within and outside Cyprus in the wake of September 11. However, three months later the government lifted the ban on flying over Cyprus for flight training schools but maintained the ban on pleasure flights over the island for another month. This was also later lifted, but pleasure flights by foreigners in and out of the island remained banned until the end of March.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Eight youngsters held over school break-in

    EIGHT Nicosia youths have been detained on suspicion of breaking into a school building and using the desks and chairs to build an Easter bonfire, police said yesterday.

    The youths, aged between 15 and 18, were charged with breaking into the classrooms of the A and B primary school in the Nicosia suburb of Aglandja, stealing the desks and chairs and using them to fuel the Easter bonfire they had lit on the school's football pitch.

    The boys were also charged with smashing six windows and three flowerpots.

    The incident allegedly happened in the early hours of Easter Sunday.

    Six of the youths were charged in writing, while the other two were expected to be charged within the day.

    Two other youngsters were charged in connection with the same offences and subsequently released.

    The two had earlier allegedly admitted to being involved in the incident, police said.

    Police said three arrest warrants were still pending and did not rule out further arrests.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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