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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, May 11, 2002


  • [01] Themistocleous: resignation was an issue of dignity and principle
  • [02] Archbishop to be flown to Athens today
  • [03] Denktash: EU bid could bode 'disaster'
  • [04] Cyprus to buy three helicopters for police and army
  • [05] Expats gear up for Jubilee celebrations
  • [06] Forget punishment, bring on dialogue and reprimands
  • [07] Two held over fake sterling scam
  • [08] Cabinet approves extra cash for tourism
  • [09] Ray of light for Limassol zoo

  • [01] Themistocleous: resignation was an issue of dignity and principle

    By George Psyllides

    JUSTICE Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday avoided commenting on the contents of the letter of resignation from Prison Governor Haris Themistocleous, submitted on Thursday following a protracted confrontation.

    Koshis said he had received the letter yesterday morning from the ministry's Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides and that he would have studied it later in the day.

    Themistocleous' resignation followed a letter from Savvides, which effectively gagged him by forbidding him to speak to the media unless he had official clearance.

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

    Yesterday, Koshis avoided commenting on what was already an open secret: that Themistocleous had resigned because of the rift with the ministry.

    "I don't want to comment; I said what I had to say before," Koshis said.

    He added: "Now we have a letter before us that we'll send to the Civil Service."

    Koshis did not comment on the contents of the letter, but told reporters he was saddened by Themistocleous' decision.

    "Of course it saddens me; but it's not me who decides.

    "He decided," Koshis added.

    Themistocleous also refused to reveal the contents of his letter, when contacted by the Cyprus Mail.

    "It would be unethical," he said.

    He said, however, he had been driven to the decision to preserve his dignity and principles.

    There was much speculation yesterday as to what led the governor to resign, with people close to him saying he could no longer work under the current circumstances.

    Those sources questioned the motives behind the ministry's decision to gag him, arguing that the things he was accused of telling the media had been already discussed in detail before the relevant House committees, which were open to journalists.

    The ministry at the time denied gagging Themistocleous, claiming it had merely pointed out the procedures to be followed when speaking to the media, which meant clearing his answers with superiors first.

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

    Reports said Themistocleous had replied with his own letter, sent through his lawyer, in which he challenged the ministry to charge him and put him on trial if he had revealed sensitive information, or then withdraw the gagging order and stop accusing him of things he had not done.

    Since his appointment in January 2000, Themistocleous has consistently argued for prison reform, saying it lacked aftercare for released inmates and parole officers and boards to help them reintegrate into society.

    However, a source close to the outgoing governor told the Cyprus Mail that Themistocleous had apparently been stepping on toes while trying to improve the island's only correctional facility.

    "He tried to introduce merit; he did things strictly by the book and refused to do any favours," the source said.

    "It seems people find it hard to understand that concept."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Archbishop to be flown to Athens today

    By Melina Demetriou

    ARCHBISHOP Chrysostomos will be transferred to an Athens clinic today after some complications with his health emerged yesterday afternoon.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the Archbishop, who is being treated at the Nicosia Hospital, had to be transferred abroad urgently after there had been some complications with his health.

    The Archbishop sustained head and spine injuries after a fall two weeks ago.

    Savvides described Chrysostomos' condition as "serious but not critical." He added that the Archbishop would be transferred to a London health centre to receive specialised treatment after going to Athens.

    "We first have to deal with the complications before taking him to London," he said.

    The minister said Chrysostomos would fly to Athens today at 3 pm by an air ambulance and would be admitted at the Evangelismos Health Unit.

    Asked how much the travel would cost, Savvides replied: "as the Paphos Bishop has said, it would be blasphemy to discuss money in this case".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Denktash: EU bid could bode 'disaster'

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday the chances were "great" that occupied northern Cyprus would join Turkey if the European Union admitted the divided island prior to a settlement.

    Denktash was in Ankara ahead of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's visit to Nicosia next week to boost flagging talks between Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides.

    Asked what the likelihood was of the occupied area uniting with Turkey if Cyprus joined the EU divided, Denktash said: "It is great."

    "The balance between Turks and Greeks is essential. The EU or anyone who wants to lift this are looking for a disaster," he was quoted as saying by the state-run Anatolian news agency.

    Meanwhile, Clerides yesterday held talks with UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto.

    De Soto said only that he had discussed "a number of things" in his 30- minute meeting with Clerides.

    Asked whether the way in which the UN would assist the peace talks had been decided, De Soto said: "let's wait until the Secretary-general arrives. I am continuing my usual approach".

    Annan arrives in Cyprus on Tuesday and will stay until Thursday. He will hold separate meetings with Clerides and Denktash and also see them jointly over dinner.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Cyprus to buy three helicopters for police and army

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE CABINET yesterday unanimously approved the purchase of three "multi- purpose" helicopters to service the needs of the National Guard and the police force.

    According to Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, the decision was reached "easily and quickly" - in stark contrast to the behind-the-scenes deliberations and rumors the government was being pressured to buy US-made helicopters. Initially, reports indicated that two separate purchases would be made, one for the armed forces and the other for the police.

    Papapetrou confirmed yesterday a single purchase was on the cards; the choppers would primarily be used by the police's airborne unit, but would undergo certain modifications so as to also satisfy the requirements of military operations. Papapetrou would not elaborate on the choppers' technical specifications.

    A tenders' process is already under way, and three companies are bidding for the sale. A previous call for tenders had been scrapped after irregularities in the process.

    The choppers will be used in search & rescue operations, firefighting, monitoring of the coastline and by the National Guard.

    Addressing concerns that materiel used by the National Guard should not be made available to other departments, Papapetrou said the choppers would more than adequately provide for the needs of the armed forces.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Expats gear up for Jubilee celebrations

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    AS THE Queen embarks on her golden jubilee celebrations in the United Kingdom, British expatriates in Cyprus are organising a host of events of their own to mark the occasion.

    In the UK, the celebrations, including street parties, royal garden parties and a nationwide tour by Queen Elizabeth II, are expected to involve millions of people. Those born on the date of the Queen's accession to the throne, February 6, 1952 have the opportunity to be one of 3,500 attending a Golden Jubilee Garden Party hosted by the Queen. During the Queen's Silver Jubilee year in 1977, more than 100,000 street parties were held nation-wide.

    In Cyprus, supporters of the Queen are buzzing with excitement as they prepare for their own celebrations to mark the Queen's fiftieth anniversary on the throne. Committees are meeting island-wide to organise events to concur with festivities in the UK.

    Sylvia Smith is a member of one such committee along with James Anderson, Defence Attaché to the British High Commission and British members of UNFICYP.

    On Sunday, May 12, there will be a garden party for children at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Nicosia. The next major event will be a weekend away at the aptly named Jubilee Hotel in Troodos on May 25. The Saturday will involve a Tennis Tournament followed by a buffet and a quiz. The next morning will entail a three-mile hike, an egg hunt for the children and a barbeque. The hotel is already fully booked for the weekend but Sylvia Smith encourages those who wish to join them for Sunday's activities to contact her as soon as possible on 22-761005.

    The location for the event was aptly chosen as the hotel derived its name from the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935. Ironically, it was later used in the 1950s as an EOKA hide out in the struggle against British colonial rule. The hotel has recently undergone renovation and gives the impression of an Indian Hill Station similar to that of Dehra Dun where British governors ran state affairs during hot summer months.

    On June 2, St.Paul's Church in Nicosia will be holding a thanksgiving service at 9.30am, dedicated to Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee, followed by coffee and cakes in the garden.

    As the sweltering heat starts to wane, a huge celebration will take place on September 21 at the UN. Fireworks, lasers, dancing and eating are all part of the entertainment. Tickets will be available closer to the time for the jamboree.

    The United Kingdom Citizens Association (UKCA) is also planning colourful events in all major cities of the island. Paphos is celebrating in style with a street party in the UKCA car park on Saturday June1, with the British High Commissioner as Guest of Honour. Proceeds of the raffle will be going to the Kidney Renal Unit for dialysis machines. Larnaca is celebrating on June 2 with a barbeque for members followed by extensive games such as skittles, can stalls, bowling for a 'pig' and darts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Forget punishment, bring on dialogue and reprimands

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE EDUCATION Ministry has decided to apply a "disciplinary" system in schools to replace more traditional forms of punishment.

    The ministry has come to the decision taking into consideration the International Convention on Children's rights, international trends and practices, as well as universal democratic principles.

    The plan is based on the conception that schools are "learning and reforming centres", not prisons.

    The new scheme includes measures such as dialogue between students and teachers, reprimands, written warnings which are also made known to parents, common agreements signed between students and teachers and expulsion from the class.

    The ministry suggests that students should be expelled from school for a maximum of eight days instead of 15, as current regulation provide.

    The decision also calls for the creation of a number of internal bodies to handle disciplinary cases.

    One of those bodies operating on class level will be made up of the class supervisor, the school counsellor and all the class's teachers. This body will suggest measures to support and reform students displaying anti-social behaviour and take disciplinary action such as expulsion for a maximum of four days. The body will co-operate with a school psychologist.

    Severe cases will be handled by the school's disciplinary council and the teachers' body.

    The system's avowed aim is to prevent personal confrontations between students and teachers and boost the role of educators.

    The ministry's decision is not expected to be implemented immediately.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Two held over fake sterling scam

    By a Staff Reporter

    TWO persons were yesterday remanded in custody on suspicion of selling counterfeit pounds sterling in the coastal town of Ayia Napa.

    The men were arrested on Thursday night, after a buyer suspected something amiss. They were remanded in custody yesterday by the Famagusta district court. The detainees are a 17-year-old and a 40-year-old; both are employed at a discotheque in Ayia Napa.

    In court, police investigators cited the testimony of a woman, a shopkeeper, who on Thursday was asked by a young man for Cypriot currency in exchange for sterling. The man later left the scene on the back seat of a moped.

    The shopkeeper's suspicions were aroused and, on checking the notes she had just bought, she saw they all carried the same serial number. The woman immediately notified police.

    In testimony to the police, the 17-year-old admitted to selling counterfeit money and said he was working for the older man.

    Famagusta CID are investigating.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Cabinet approves extra cash for tourism

    By a Staff Reporter

    AN EXTRA half a million pounds will be pumped into the tourist sector in a bid to boost the industry, still reeling from the aftermath of the September 11 events.

    The extra funds were approved after the completion of an investigation into why the cabinet had been given the wrong tourism figures last month, prompting ministers to postpone their decision to approve the cash until May 8.

    On April 28, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis launched an investigation into how the misleading figures were given to the Cabinet after the Hoteliers Association (PASYXE) suggested it had been done deliberately.

    The figures showed optimistic bookings data when in fact the real picture was extremely bleak as far as bookings were concerned.

    Instead of a projected increase in of 23 per cent and 13 per cent respectively for May and June as presented to the Cabinet, the correct figures showed an actual drop in bookings of 34 per cent and 11 per cent for the same two months.

    Rolandis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the issue had been resolved and the investigation showed there had been a mistake made at the CTO office in London, which had somehow made its way as far as the Cabinet "without anyone noticing".

    After being presented with the correct figures, the Cabinet approved a string of new measures aimed at increasing tourist arrivals to the island over the next winter season. This latest package raises total annual government expenditure on tourism to some £15 million.

    After the Cabinet meeting, Rolandis said the additional £500,000 would be spent primarily on promotion and advertising for the winter season.

    Plans have already been made to do away with aircraft landing fees for the first three months of 2003.

    Rolandis said the government's extra expenses would be more than compensated by increased traffic, adding there was plenty of time to fine- tune the measures.

    Only a week ago, the Cabinet approved a £410,000 advertising package for the summer 2002 season.

    "Cyprus is one of a handful of countries that have adopted such extensive measures to boost tourism," Rolandis said. He went on to add that, according to World Tourism Organisation official figures, last year the island was one of the countries least hard-hit by the September 11 events, even registering a 7 per cent increase in income over the year.

    Reservations for this summer have taken a fall compared to last year. Rolandis tried to play down the extent of the problem, saying that last- minute reservations were part of the equation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Ray of light for Limassol zoo

    By Stefanos Evripides

    LIMASSOL Municipality has appointed a committee to oversee the relocation and upgrade of the town's often-criticised zoo.

    The development came after the Agriculture Ministry and city authorities decided earlier this year that the time had come for Cyprus to change its image and develop a modern-day zoo. Now, the municipality has selected the municipal vet and chairmen from the committees of garden advancement and health and environment to make up the new committee. Two officials from the Agriculture Ministry and a prominent expert from the EU will complement the group.

    Municipal vet Lambros Lambrou said yesterday the committee was responsible for conducting a technical and financial study to indicate the best location for a new zoo, taking into account the criteria set by the European Union and the costs of its creation.

    Lambrou told the Cyprus Mail that no deadline had been set for the Committee to reach its conclusion and much still had to be determined in terms of funding for the project. He did not rule out the possibility of private and EU aid to add to state funding and could not confirm or deny media reports that Polemidia was a potential new location.

    The main aim of the Committee would be to provide the animals with their most natural environment for their protection and well being, he said.

    The new zoo will have much wider spaces for existing animals and may even accommodate more. As part of its study, the Committee will be using as examples well-established zoos in Europe and zoos that have a similar climate to Cyprus, like the modern Jerusalem Zoo.

    The development and upgrade of the current zoo will not be put aside until then, however, and the living space of the brown bears has already been tripled in order to attempt to place them in a more natural habitat, Lambrou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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