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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-15

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Wednesday, May 15, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Interim governor appointed to run prison
  • [02] Residents block road in quarry protest
  • [03] Doctor goes to European court over rape conviction
  • [04] We need more staff to inspect private schools
  • [05] Man critical after church fall
  • [06] New road works set to cause traffic mayhem in central Nicosia
  • [07] Penalty points for mobile phone offences?
  • [08] Zampelas: CSE will be in Nicosia by 2005, but not at GSP
  • [09] Cyprus seeking to attract international golf event
  • [10] Selden's brother crosses in hope of playing in the south
  • [11] Chaos as the heavens open
  • [12] Fathers included in new paternal leave directive
  • [13] Gypsies to be moved from Turkish Cypriot quarter

  • [01] Interim governor appointed to run prison

    By George Psyllides

    THE JUSTICE Ministry yesterday appointed a senior ministry official as a temporary replacement for outgoing prison governor Harris Themistocleous, who resigned last Thursday after a protracted spat over an order banning him from speaking to the media on prison issues.

    Justice Ministry Senior Administrative Officer Spyros Efstathiou was named deputy prison governor yesterday pending the appointment of a new governor to replace Themistocleous.

    Themistocleous' resignation followed a letter from the ministry's Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides, which effectively gagged him by forbidding him to speak to the media without 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.

    Yesterday, Koshis said Themistocleous had written a letter asking the ministry to withdraw its gagging letter.

    "But the letter was the essence of the matter," Koshis said.

    "He should have asked for permission before speaking about police matters," he added.

    Koshis said that even he could not speak about certain issues if the Cabinet had not drawn the policy and pointed to the law banning civil servants from speaking to the press about certain issues.

    The minister said the letter to Themistocleous had been drafted after advice from the Attorney-general.

    Koshis revealed that certain comments made by Themistocleous on matters like life imprisonment, the sex life of inmates, and parole boards had created problems.

    "These are not his issues, not even mine; they are government policy matters," Koshis said.

    Koshis said Themistocleous had not been forced into resigning and that it had been his own decision.

    Themistocleous' lawyer Andreas Angelides yesterday said the Civil Service Committee, who had the final say in accepting the resignation or not, seemed to have gone through it very quickly and apparently without looking into the claim that his client had been forced to resign.

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

    Cyprus has no parole board and early releases, mostly to alleviate overcrowding, are decided by the Attorney-general.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Residents block road in quarry protest

    DISGRUNTLED residents of the village of Pareklissia yesterday blocked the road to Limassol protesting about the dust emitted from the quarries and the movement of lorries carrying earth.

    For an hour, around 70 residents closed the Kellaki to Limassol road - Pareklissia is located between Kellaki and Limassol with the quarries in the Kellaki area - protesting about the unhygienic conditions in their village and the dangers from the lorries, which they say pass through at breakneck speeds.

    Pareklissia Mukhtar Socratis Pavlou said the dust from the quarries was affecting the environment by obstructing the enrichment of underground waters, and accused state officials of being oblivious to the area's problems.

    The owner of one of the area's three quarries, Petros Kythreotis, said the operations were conducted within the regulations set by the state, as well as environmental studies stipulating how the area should be restored.

    Kythreotis conceded there was a problem with the road network, pointing out, however, that the local authority should appeal to the government to expedite improvement work in which the quarries would assist.

    Concerning allegations of speeding, Kythreotis said that was a matter for the police.

    Limassol District Officer Nicos Roussos said the residents' move to block the road was premature.

    He said the community had not tabled any specific demands before the authorities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Doctor goes to European court over rape conviction

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights has declared admissible the application of a local urologist convicted of rape, appealing against the Republic for violation of his human rights, his lawyer said yesterday.

    Michael Pikis told the Cyprus Mail that Achilleas Korellis, found guilty of raping a patient's girlfriend by the Assize Court three years ago, had been violated of his right to a fair trial by an independent tribunal according to the European Convention of Human Rights.

    "The following year, we appealed against the conviction, which was rejected by the Supreme Court," he said. "After exhausting all domestic avenues, we decided to turn to the European Court."

    The procedure took two years, said Pikis. "But, after considering the grounds of violation submitted by my client, as well as the Government's observations in response to our application, the European Court rejected the government's position and declared the complaint admissible.

    "The next step involved in the procedure is to submit my client's compensation claim. To do this, we need a meticulous assessment of his pecuniary damage such as verifiable losses actually suffered as a direct result of the violation as found," he said.

    "Non-pecuniary damage, in other words compensation for suffering and distress caused by such a violation of his rights must also be carefully examined, as well as the cost and expenses incurred in attempting to address this matter both through the domestic legal system and the proceedings before the European court."

    The government will also have to lodge what they feel is a fair settlement as well, he said. They will either agree, or the European Court will decide for them.

    Naturally, Korellis' claim would be very high in view of the great extent of damage inflicted upon him as a result of his conviction both in pecuniary and non-pecuniary terms, said Pikis. However, the lawyer refrained from specifying an exact amount.

    "I have yet to take everything into consideration, so cannot say. I don't want to give you one figure at this point and then find in the end that it is much greater or less," he said.

    "But," he added, "may it be noted that as a result of his conviction, Dr. Korellis was financially ruined and experiences great suffering and distress, particularly in view of the disastrous repercussions the conviction had upon his dignity and moral image in the society where he lives and works."

    The doctor was convicted to three years imprisonment, but only served two and half years of his sentence due to prison overpopulation. A medical disciplinary board investigation last year decided not to strike him off and he is still allowed to practise.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] We need more staff to inspect private schools

    THE EDUCATION Ministry does not have enough staff to carry out inspections on every single private educational body, a senior Ministry official said yesterday.

    Permanent Secretary Petros Kareklas told yesterday's House Education Committee that although a licensing law to operate private schools had been implemented, the sector still needed to be regulated.

    "There is a law in place that defines what a school is, the school year and what private tuition centres are," he said: any place that fulfilled the required criteria obtained a private education operating licence.

    "But," said Kareklas, "the inspections carried out at private institutions are both selective and infrequent, and so their development is not monitored".

    The Public Administration and Personnel Department had been informed that more staff were needed to carry out regular and thorough inspections and the matter was also being discussed by the Mixed Education Service Committee, he said.

    Members of the House Committee also raised the question that private schools operating without a licence could be dangerous.

    But Committee President Prodromos Prodromou said that as far as summer schools were concerned, it was up to parents themselves to check up on the standard of where they are enrolling their children and not the Ministry's responsibility.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Man critical after church fall

    A MAN was critically injured in Limassol yesterday when he fell from a ladder while inspecting a church.

    Kostas Ledjas, 39, a Greek national, was inspecting the roof of Apostolos Andreas church in Mesa Yitonia, when his ladder collapsed and he fell.

    Ledjas was taken to Nicosia General hospital, where doctors said he had sustained injuries to his skull, lungs and back. They described his condition as critical.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] New road works set to cause traffic mayhem in central Nicosia

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    BYRON Avenue in the centre of Nicosia will yet again be plunged into a nightmare of traffic jams this summer as plans to widen the road get under way next month.

    New plans unveiled by the Nicosia Municipality on Monday provide that work will start on June 3 to transform Byron Avenue into a four-lane road. Cars parking on the road will be faced with hefty fines while congestion is predicted to be catastrophic over the duration of the works.

    No immediate alternative for parking has been offered to provide for the multitude of government employees and visitors of government offices in the vicinity. Adding to the mayhem are reports that construction of the new Finance Ministry will not be completed for another six months.

    According to Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zampelas, the road will be widened to accommodate its role as a key route to the town centre and act as the main exit towards Grivas Dighenis Avenue. A key feature of the project is to provide pavements for pedestrians from Grivas Dhigenis Avenue right up to the General Hospital.

    But the plan is deemed ambitious by some as the area is already plagued with parking difficulties and traffic congestion. To make matters worse, no obvious alternatives have been offered to motorists for parking. When asked for alternatives, Zampelas replied that the land opposite the Greek Embassy would be transformed into an organised parking lot and would also replace Solomou Square as the capital's new central bus station.

    The new Finance Ministry will have an underground car park which will hold up to 800 spaces. The mayor could not say whether that would be sufficient for the employees of both the Finance Ministry and the Labour Ministry and the visitors they attract. Neither the underground parking nor the parking lot further down are anywhere near completion.

    However, Zampelas has no qualms about revealing his ambitions to encourage Cypriots to make less use of their cars and more of their legs. He envisages that people will eventually learn to walk more once the surroundings are suitable for it.

    In response to predictions of mayhem on the streets, he said: "We will have problems but there is no other way. The people must have patience."

    The project will cost approximately 1.5 million, 80 per cent of which will be fronted by the government, and the rest by the municipality. The project is estimated to take a year to complete.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Penalty points for mobile phone offences?

    THE GOVERNMENT wants to slap penalty points on drivers caught using mobile phones while at the wheel in an effort to stem the increasing number of offences, the House Communications Committee heard yesterday.

    If a proposed amendment is adopted, offenders will no longer only receive a 50 fine, but could also be slammed with between two and four penalty points.

    Deputies and representatives of professional drivers recognised the need for drivers to comply with the provisions of the law, which bans the use of mobile phones during driving unless a hands-free system is used.

    In the same bill, the government is seeking to introduce penalty points for drivers who cross the continuous white lines separating traffic lanes.

    Professional drivers unions, however, are concerned about such a development, arguing that on some roads, especially narrow mountain roads, the slow movement of heavy vehicles and the lack of special hard shoulders for temporary stops, often forced drivers to breach the continuous white line.

    The Deputy Traffic Police Chief nevertheless told the committee that the stiffer penalties would help in the prevention of offences.

    Committee Chairman Nicos Pittokopitis asked the police and the transport department to supply the deputies with all the statistics concerning accidents, traffic violations, and penalty points.

    After studying the figures and hearing all arguments, the committee will position itself on the bill before forwarding it to the plenum for approval.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Zampelas: CSE will be in Nicosia by 2005, but not at GSP

    By Jean Christou

    NICOSIA Mayor Michalakis Zampelas said yesterday his municipality was determined to bring the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) back within the city boundaries by 2005.

    Speaking to journalists, Zampelas said that the Technical Chamber ETEK had been mandated by the House of Representatives to find a location in Nicosia, other than the old GSP stadium area.

    Plans to construct the new CSE building near the GSP were recently scrapped by the municipality after a storm of protest over the possible implications on congestion and the environment. But the government wants the issue resolved as soon as possible since architectural plans are already under way, Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou told the House on Monday.

    The government has told the municipality that if it couldn't get its act together there were other municipalities within greater Nicosia that were interested in housing the new CSE.

    Neophytou said that if the government was forced to freeze the architectural process it would cost hundreds of thousands in lawsuits.

    Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Kyriacos Triandafillides told the committee on Monday that he had asked the Lands and Surveys Department to look around for a suitable site.

    But Zampelas said yesterday the ball was in ETEK's court. "We are waiting for ETEK to find a place," he said, adding that it was the decision of the municipal council that the CSE should be back in Nicosia by 2005.

    "What's important to us is to bring the CSE back to the city centre by 2005, " he said. "As long as it's in the centre we have nothing else to say," he added.

    The CSE In February launched an invitation to tenders for the construction of new premises in line with a cabinet decision calling for new premises within five years.

    The CSE is currently housed under a temporary licence at the former International Merchandising Centre (IMC), a huge complex on the outskirts of the capital, which was to be a stopgap measure until new premises could be constructed.

    According to reports, the cost of a new building has been estimated at 10 million plus another 6-7 million for IT equipment and other fittings.

    Concern has also been raised that the cost of the building would effectively use a substantial portion of the CSE's reserves in a declining market situation. Some quarters have suggested the construction be delayed until the market's future was clearer.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Cyprus seeking to attract international golf event

    By Soteris Charalambous

    TOURISM Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday he was hopeful a decision on staging an international golfing event in Cyprus could be taken within two to three weeks.

    Nicos Severis, Chairman of the Cyprus Golf Association, proposed the idea after a recent visit by the Professional Golf Association (PGA) confirmed that the 'Secret Valley' course near Limassol had been selected as a possible venue.

    Rolandis told the Cyprus Mail: "The idea of staging an international golf tournament in Cyprus is fully acceptable, but it is a question of cost." Rolandis made reference to European regulations relating to the use of government land, saying: "Rent for the land has to be charged at market rate which is approximately four to five per cent of the valuation given by the Land Registry Office. However, as all of the existing golf courses in Cyprus are located in the tourist areas valuations are high."

    Rolandis and the Cyprus Tourist Organisation will carry out a feasibility study for a golf event earmarked for the end of 2003. He was keen to point out that four new golf courses on government land in Larnaca, Ayia Napa and two around Limassol, were under development and that he believed the potential boost to tourism could be considerable.

    Severis explained: "the PGA have proposed an International Seniors Tournament for October 2003. We are not asking the government to pay for the event, we would just like them to underwrite it."

    He is convinced that the financial benefits to the island far outweigh the estimated cost of 750,000 for staging the event. Countries like Portugal and Spain have developed the sports tourism market and are reaping the benefits of affluent tourists keen to play golf throughout the year. "An International Seniors event would put Cyprus on the European golfing map," added Severis.

    He also highlighted the success of other countries that have recently entered the golfing market. "Dubai is a country promoting the sport, and now boasts a major championship which has lead to greater development of the tourism market," said Severis.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Selden's brother crosses in hope of playing in the south

    By Soteris Charalambous

    FORMER AEK President Stavros Xenis yesterday confirmed that Musafer Selden, Sabri Selden's older brother, had moved to the free areas and would be applying for citizenship on Monday.

    Xenis told the Cyprus Mail that Musafer Selden would be signing a personal services contract, similar to the one signed by his brother Sabri, until his citizenship was confirmed.

    "Given that the precedent was set when Sabri was granted citizenship, there will be no problem for his brother." Said Xenis. Musafer Selden, 23, is the oldest of the four brothers and plays in central defence.

    Another member of the Selden family, Raif, twin brother to Sabri, is also hoping to join his brothers in the free areas, although the Cyprus Mail understands he is hoping to secure citizenship for his girlfriend before committing himself to a contract.

    The question of which club the brothers will be playing for next season has yet to be resolved. Elections take place on May 22 to decide the presidency at AEK, a position Xenis hopes to reclaim. However, he did not discount the Selden brothers playing for AEK should he fail to be re-instated as President. "If I am not re-elected as President I am hopeful that I will remain connected to the club in some capacity.

    "I love AEK, and I would like the Selden brothers to play here."

    In a separate incident another Turkish Cypriot athlete, Mourat Kasapoglou, has also crossed to the free areas in the hope of claiming Cypriot citizenship. According to the Turkish Cypriot press Kasapoglou has distinguished himself in bodybuilding.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Chaos as the heavens open

    By Alex Mita

    FIRE stations in Nicosia had to call in reserve officers yesterday to cope with the number of calls for help after the capital was hit by torrential downpours.

    Police had to block off some areas and Paphos Gate Fire Station alone responded to more than 120 calls to drain flooded basements and recover dozens of stranded cars around the city.

    The continuous rainfall caused traffic chaos at the Ayios Andreas and General Hospital areas and caused the Pedieos River to flow again.

    The bad weather also caused many technical problems to communications, with the CyTA faults service centre inundated with calls from frustrated customers whose lines had been affected.

    There were so many calls to the Electricity Authority that it resorted to using an automated telephone system -- which told callers the EAC was unable to answer the call because the phone lines were so busy.

    Costas Gabrielides, EAC Deputy Director of Trade Services and Public Relations, told the Cyprus Mail that areas most affected by bad weather were Strovolos and Akaki village.

    "The electrical faults in the Strovolos area have been dealt with," Gabrielides said, adding that any country would be affected by a storm as intense as yesterday's.

    "We have one of the best electrical network systems in Europe," he said, and stressed that the EAC will be on full alert until the end of the week when the weather is expected to improve.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Fathers included in new paternal leave directive

    By Alexia Saoulli

    FROM next year, all new parents - including fathers - will be granted up to 13 weeks of unpaid parental leave, a Labour Ministry official said yesterday.

    The new bill is currently being discussed at the House and should be passed by the end of the month, or at the very latest at the beginning of next month, said industrial relations officer, Maria Ttapa-Kolokotroni. It will then be enforced as of January 1, 2003.

    "Its implementation is compulsory under European Union legislation," she said, "but how it is defined and fine-tuned is up to each member state's capabilities and needs".

    The law itself is called a Parental Leave Directive, Kolokotroni said. It is available to both parents, and for mothers is over and above their 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.

    "This is a different law altogether," she stressed. "All women, when they give birth are allowed up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. Even women who have adopted an infant are given this time off work. This directive, however, allows both mothers and fathers to take up to 13 weeks off work, to be taken at any time until the child is six years old, on top of taking maternity leave."

    If a pregnancy resulted in twins, however, no extra time would be given, she said. The law only applied to each separate birth and how many children were born during that birth was irrelevant, she said.

    "This part of the law applies to natural parents," said Kolokotroni. "We have also made allowances for adoptive parents. In their case, they will also be given 13 weeks of unpaid parental leave, but they will have until the child is 12 to take it."

    She explained not all parents adopted infants and therefore the law made allowances for parents adopting older children.

    "Some children are seven years old when they are adopted, so we are giving their parents the chance to spend 13 weeks of unpaid leave with them until they are 12,"she said. "But this is only an allowance for older adoptions. What the law actually states is that parents have six years from the day of adoption, to take that time off work. If, for instance, the child is three years old when it's adopted, then parents only have up until it's nine years old to take that time off. On the other hand if a 10-year-old is adopted, parents will only have two years to take unpaid parental leave and no more."

    Although parents will be given this parental leave, they cannot take it all at once and must give their employers' four to five weeks' written notice.

    "Each parent can only take one to four weeks of this leave a year," said Kolokotroni. "This is so that employers are also protected. Imagine if three parents have children under the age of six at the same time and all three want to take parental leave simultaneously. This would cause a lot of problems within their working environment. Therefore, they will only be allowed to take this leave a few weeks each year, following advance notice."

    Another law that is being introduced in accordance with EU directives is time off work on grounds of force majeure. In other words, employees will be allowed to take seven unpaid working days of leave for urgent family reasons such as sickness or accidents.

    "If a registered dependent family member of an employee, such as a parent, spouse or child, is seriously ill and needs that employee's immediate care, then he or she can take up to seven days of unpaid leave per year to be with that person."

    Both laws will apply to all employees who have had been working for more than six months, said Kolokotroni, but should not displease employers since neither would burden them financially.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [13] Gypsies to be moved from Turkish Cypriot quarter

    THE INTERIOR Ministry has decided to relocate a number of gypsies from Limassol's Turkish Cypriot quarter, it was announced yesterday.

    The announcement was made by the ministry's Permanent Secretary Kyriacos Triantafyllides, who visited the area yesterday morning following a meeting at the district administration.

    Triantafyllides said the ministry did not intend to isolate the gypsies but to locate them somewhere where they could find work.

    The move follows complaints by Greek Cypriot residents of the area, in their overwhelming majority refugees who moved there after the 1974 invasion, who claimed that Turkish Cypriot gypsies caused problems with their behaviour.

    Matters have come to a head in the past year, with the gypsy population increasing fivefold, residents say.

    Residents claim gypsies drive their cars recklessly, without licence or insurance, damage other vehicles, and curse and threaten. They say established residents are afraid to go out after dark.

    Concerning work to upgrade the area, Triantafyllides said eight derelict buildings had already been demolished while another two would share the same fate as soon as they were vacated.

    The space created from the demolitions would be turned into parks by the municipality, Triantafyllides said.

    Limassol Mayor Demetris Kontides said he was satisfied by the work done so far, adding that efforts to improve the quality of life of the residents would continue.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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