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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 16, 2002


  • [01] 'Everything is on the table and nothing will be eaten until everything is eaten'
  • [02] Stock Market report will cast blame for debacle
  • [03] Beaming programmes to the diaspora
  • [04] EU discusses fate of Palestinians
  • [05] Health tests to be carried out around refinery
  • [06] Torrential rain another boost to water supplies
  • [07] Morgue staff accused of recommending their wives' funeral parlours

  • [01] 'Everything is on the table and nothing will be eaten until everything is eaten'

    By Jean Christou

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan last joined President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for a three-hour working dinner at the residence of UNFICYP Chief of Mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz.

    No statements were made after the meeting at Wlosowicz's residence other than mutters of satisfaction for the meal and a comment about "good discussions" from the three main parties.

    Both Annan and the two leaders appeared sombre and the atmosphere between Clerides and Denktash appeared less than jovial as they shook hands formally before going their separate ways.

    "The leaders have had extensive discussions," said UNFICYP spokesman Brian Kelly, reading from a prepared statement. "They have now ended dinner and will meet again soon."

    During the three-hour meal, Annan, the two leaders, their host and UN Cyprus special envoy Alvaro de Soto dined on a Polish menu prepared and cooked by Wlosowicz's mother Elizabeth. "She's a superb cook," said Kelly. I can testify to that."

    The menu consisted of smoked salmon, traditional Polish vegetable salad, dill soup, cabbage stuffed with chicken and mushrooms and crepes with apples for dessert.

    "Everything is on the table and nothing will be eaten until everything is eaten," Kelly earlier told journalists in a jocular reference to the substance of the ongoing direct talks between Clerides and Denktash.

    Dinner began shortly after the arrival of the two leaders, alone except for their respective security personnel, at around 7.30pm, only minutes after Annan arrived with de Soto. The Secretary-general then emerged to greet Clerides and Denktash separately on their arrival and posed for a photo shoot as dozens of journalists clamoured for a statement.

    Annan however remained tight lipped. Denktash, when asked if and what message the Secretary-general gave him, replied "I love you" to the reporter, before going inside, his entourage carrying behind him a large gift-wrapped plant.

    Outside journalists shivered in the cold and passed their time joking with the UN soldiers, grateful the dinner had not taken place the night before when heavy rain and storms had descended on the capital.

    However as soon as the European Cup Final began, male journalists, cursing their bad luck to be stuck inside the UN-controlled Nicosia Airport, flocked to the CyBC facility, forgetting the historical dinner taking place inside and the cold weather outside.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Stock Market report will cast blame for debacle

    By George Psyllides

    INVESTORS were defrauded during the Stock Exchange (CSE) debacle two years ago and there are people responsible for this, the Chairman of the House Watchdog Committee Christos Pourgourides said yesterday.

    Speaking after a joint meeting of the House Watchdog and Finance Committees during which deputy-members were handed the outline of the report on the CSE fiasco, Pourgourides said there had been fraud, which was not committed by "angels or archangels from the heavens but by people in Cyprus".

    "Those who committed the fraud, did so by being in the forefront or by being allowed by others to do it," the outspoken DISY deputy added.

    The Chairman of the Finance Committee Marcos Kyprianou said that because of the nature of the investigation, the length of the outline report - 350 pages -- and the need for parties to position themselves, it had been decided to give them ample time to study it and table their suggestions by June 4.

    Kyprianou said that any leaks of the contents of the outline would "undermine the aim that is none other than to apportion responsibility".

    The report with the committees' findings will be made public on June 4, following a scheduled marathon session where party suggestions will be discussed.

    "We will take all the time needed to complete the procedure on June 4 and I expect to

    have the final findings late in the afternoon or early evening to make them public," Pourgourides said.

    He added that the investigation into the debacle, which saw thousands of small investors losing millions of pounds, would not end on June 4 and the effort to uncover the truth would continue since major issues still needed to be examined.

    Pourgourides revealed that the two committees were expected additional funds from the cabinet in order to hire experts who would participate in the investigation that would follow.

    Pourgourides urged the media to safeguard procedures and not to try to get hold of the outline report.

    "If sections of an outline concerning a serious matter are published, people could get the wrong message and the whole procedure could be ruined, " Pourgourides said.

    He stressed that there was no final report yet but just an outline, which, though hefty, was only an outline that could change in several points as parties had not yet taken any positions.

    Kyprianou said that after the final report was approved by the committees, it would be forwarded to the House plenum for discussion.

    He did not rule out demanding the resignations of those found responsible for the debacle, adding that the matter would be discussed by the committees.

    Kyprianou said the report would not categorise responsibilities - political, technocratic, or institutional - noting that "responsibilities are responsibilities and how we call them was not an issue; it is clear there has been a mistake and it is clear who is to blame".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Beaming programmes to the diaspora

    By Alexia Saoulli

    EXPATRIATE Cypriots will be able to enjoy more local news via satellite, a senior CyBC television official said yesterday.

    "So far, expatriates have only been able to receive CyBC1 and CyBC2 local television programmes such as the news, magazine shows, plays and soap operas," said CyBC Television senior programme officer Andros Pavlides. "They do not receive our foreign films and series' though, because we do not have the rights from the companies we buy them from to do so."

    For some time now, Cypriots, particularly those living in the United Kingdom, have been requesting more news from home, he said.

    "This is why we designed a special programme called Glykia Hora (Sweet Country), which is directed at all Cypriots, no matter where they are living in the world."

    Pavlides told the Cyprus Mail that this new weekly series, to be aired live on CyBC2 every Friday at 11.20pm local time (9.20pm UK time), aimed to bridge oceans between Cypriot communities everywhere. It will be a combination of current affairs and cultural topics, providing both an informative and entertaining two-hour programme, he said.

    "This is the first time a television network in Cyprus has taken on such a project," he said. "Basically our aim is twofold. One, we want to bring a little piece of home to Cypriots living abroad and to remind and teach younger expatriate generations of where they come from. Two, we believe it is important that Cypriots living here know that their countrymen abroad are a lot more than just 'charlides' (a derogatory term used to describe London Cypriots)."

    The new series will see interviews of well known Cypriot figures abroad, such as scientists, artists, doctors, professors and politicians, he added.

    "It's time that locals here also knew what Cypriots abroad are made of," stressed Pavlides. "One community can learn about the other, after all we are countrymen, and this programme, we hope, will bring us closer together."

    Initially, the show will be available via satellite all over Europe, said Pavlides, but the topics will mainly surround Cypriots living here and in the UK. In order to achieve the latter, a CyBC crew will be dispatched to England to carry out interviews with Cypriot community members there.

    "The reason the United Kingdom is being used as a starting point for this project," he said, "is because it contains the largest Cypriot expatriate community, with at least 300,000 viewers tuning into CyBC. In fact, Cypriots in the UK watch far more CyBC television than Cypriots here do".

    But, arrangements are currently being made to see that the programme is aired worldwide, so that Cypriot communities in Australia, America and even South Africa are able to enjoy Glykia Hora, he said.

    "Naturally the show will not be aired live the way it is here because of time differences. Only people in Greece will be able to watch it at the same time for instance. But in America and Australia, we will use a programme repeat system that is used by all major channels such as CNN and Euronews. That way, people will be able to watch a recording of it at various times during the day."

    However, eventually, the state channel hopes to set up direct connections in other countries.

    "We carried out a satellite transmission study and found that we need a special budget precisely for this project. Now we are simply waiting for the government to approve it. If we are granted the go-ahead, we will create our own studios in the UK, Greece, the USA and even Belgium," he said. This would save money, said Pavlides, because the local channel could co-operate with locals abroad rather than having to rely on sending a crew from Cyprus every time for footage and interviews.

    "This is more economical. We could hire people by the hour in each country one of our studios is in, rather than have them on a monthly salary. Also we wouldn't need that many employees. By having a direct satellite connection with the UK for instance, we could interview a scientist who's in London, using an interviewer in Nicosia."

    Pavlides was unable to say how much the entire project would cost and acting head of CyBC, Michael Stylianou was yesterday unavailable for comment.

    The first part of Glykia Hora will start tomorrow and is presented by Eleni Charalambidou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] EU discusses fate of Palestinians

    EUROPEAN Union ambassadors yesterday discussed the conditions and legal status of 13 Palestinian militants staying in Cyprus until they can travel to the EU under a deal brokered with Israel, but came to no decision on their fate.

    The militants are being held temporarily at the Flamingo Hotel in Larnaca, after spending nearly 40 days under siege by Israeli forces in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

    "The ambassadors' meeting is over but nothing is decided yet. The talks resume tomorrow," an EU diplomat told Reuters.

    The envoys are expected to determine the status of the militants by Sunday at the latest, allowing them to be distributed among several EU member states.

    "The important thing is that the distribution of the militants among the member states has to happen very speedily," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Six countries -- Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal -- have so far agreed to take in the militants and diplomats say others may also take part in the plan.

    Some EU countries say their own laws prevent them from taking in men whom Israel has accused of planning suicide bombings and carrying out shootings against Israelis.

    They also want to clarify whether the men would be free to travel around the EU under the bloc's Schengen open borders accord.

    The men were flown to Cyprus last Friday after spending five weeks holed up in the Church of the Nativity surrounded by Israeli tanks and troops. Israel allowed them to go into exile after lengthy talks with EU negotiators. (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Health tests to be carried out around refinery

    By Alex Mita

    OVER 1,000 people living around the Cyprus Petroleum Refinery in Larnaca, as well as refinery staff, will undergo lead and emission tests carried out by UK scientists in a Health Ministry effort to control lead pollution in the area.

    The move comes after a petition sent to the Health Ministry by the Larnaca Progressive Movement, in which 3,000 locals expressed their concern over the emissions from the refinery's funnel.

    The scientists will take breath samples from locals in Livadia village, situated directly behind the refinery, and compare them to those taken from a school in Kamares, further away from the refinery.

    Health Ministry official Andreas Georgiou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the tests were part of a larger medical survey conducted by a UK based firm, aimed at controlling pollution.

    "The scientists have been to Cyprus twice before to install equipment that would help them measure the effects of heavy industry on the environment," Georgiou said.

    "They will carry out lead and emission tests at the refinery and in the tanks where oil is stored."

    "We are acting to government orders given after a petition signed by 3,000 locals was handed to the Ministry by the Larnaca Progressive Movement."

    However, Petroleum Refinery General Manager George Lambrou brushed aside reports of lead pollution, saying such allegations would backfire after the tests were completed.

    "We welcome the study and we will co-operate in full with the Health Ministry," Lambrou said. "We are certain that the study will be to our benefit since we follow all safety and emissions regulations."

    Lambrou stressed that the refinery had specialised equipment in the funnel that measure lead levels constantly.

    "In order to get a licence from the Ministry of Labour, we had to follow certain regulations and one of the regulations called for the installation of specialised sensors in the funnel which measure emissions," Lambrou said.

    Lambrou claimed there had never been any health problems to refinery staff or local residents that have been associated with refinery activities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Torrential rain another boost to water supplies

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THANKS to this year's copious rainfall, we are doing just fine as far as water levels are concerned, the head of the meteorological department said yesterday.

    Kyriacos Theofilou was speaking a day after Tuesday afternoon's torrential showers in the Nicosia district.

    "The total average rainfall throughout the island after yesterday's thunderstorms was 11mm," he said. "Until then, we had only had 3mm of rain for the month or 15 per cent of the month's average rainfall. Then, within an afternoon, we covered 71 per cent of the month's average."

    But, he pointed out, this rainfall was averaged out over the whole of Cyprus and was not representative of the actual rain that pelted down in specific areas, such as in Nicosia and the village of Peristerona.

    "In Nicosia we had 71.8mm of rain," he said. "In Kornos 56.2mm, in Peristerona 29.8mm, in Lythrodondas 26.6mm, in Yefiri tis Panayias 29.8mm and in Lefkara 22.6mm," Theofilou said, citing the areas with the most intense showers. "In Limassol for instance it didn't rain at all and in Paphos and Paralimni the rain didn't even make it to 1mm. In fact, in Paphos it was only 0.2mm. However, because we have to average out the water throughout the island, it only adds up to 11mm overall which doesn't sound as much."

    The meteorologist said the weather would remain unstable until at least Friday afternoon, if not Saturday as well.

    "Clouds will gather during the afternoons and we can expect local showers throughout the island, although I don't believe it will rain as intensely as it did yesterday."

    With only 19.6mm of rain making up the month's total average, Theofilou said he was confident that by the end of the week we would reach it, if not exceed it.

    May is not usually considered a wet month, but he explained that the month's average was quite high because they were taken over 30 year periods.

    "If you have a few dry years and then several very rainy ones during those decades, the average is bound to increase and might even be slightly inflated," he said. "In fact, although it poured down in Nicosia yesterday, it is not the wettest May we've had during this 30-year period. That honour went to 1983, when Nicosia had to cope with 86mm of rainfall in a day."

    Whether yesterday was the wettest day of the year or not, people caught in the rain were in for a big surprise.

    "I couldn't believe how much it rained," said Maria Christofi. "The water was ankle deep when I got out of my car. In fact if I hadn't been driving a four-wheel drive I think I might have got stuck at several points. I remember thinking, 'this is it, this is the point I'm going to have to be humiliated and call the fire brigade to pull me out'."

    Another Nicosia resident said he had been stuck in traffic for at least 45 minutes trying to get home: "It normally takes me only 10 minutes, but yesterday was just something else."

    Andrea Mavronicola told the Cyprus Mail that she just wished the weather would make up its mind and stay warm. "Last night was freezing and I actually had to dig out my winter clothes to go out for a drink. There I was thinking it was summer and then this. It's really a pain," she said.

    Although Nicosia residents might have felt put out by Tuesday's showers, the island's dams are definitely benefiting from this sudden burst of rain. In fact, yesterday morning the island's dams were nearly 30 per cent more full than they were the same time last year, said Theofilou.

    "There is a total of 161,707,000 cubic meters of water in the dams at present. In other words they are 59.1 per cent full. This time last year, on the other hand, they only contained 59,180,000 cubic meters of water - 29.6 per cent capacity," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Morgue staff accused of recommending their wives' funeral parlours

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE OMBUDSWOMAN yesterday called on the Health Ministry to impose stricter controls over its civil servants in order to prevent them from unethically profiting from their positions.

    Eliana Nicolaou was referring to complaints made by two separate funeral home owners over the past year concerning the activities of two separate Hospital morgue employees.

    "I was informed that two men, who head the morgues in Paphos and Limassol hospital, were recommending two particular funeral homes to the relatives of deceased individuals. What is interesting about these two specific funeral homes, however, is that they belong to the wives of the two morgue employees.

    "In other words, it would appear the two men were exploiting their position at the hospital and ensuring any financial gains to be made were being kept within their own families," she told the Cyprus Mail.

    Although Nicolaou said the two employees had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing, nor could the Attorney-general's office find any substantial evidence to corroborate the plaintiffs' complaints against them, the fact that they were married to the owners of two successful funeral homes was suspicious.

    "Therefore, in order to avoid a similar event in the future, I have suggested that the Health Ministry prevent the two men from directing the relatives of the deceased to these two particular funeral homes," she said.

    "But, I never, as was implied in other press reports suggested that the two men concerned be suspended from their jobs."

    According to the ombudswoman, civil servants should not be allowed to take advantage of their positions to make a profit on the side. It was the inefficiency of the current legislation that allowed them to get away with it, she said.

    Nicolaou said that one main outcome of her investigation into this particular case had been to highlight the fact that the operation of morgues, funeral homes and taxidermy methods needed to be improved and regulated legally.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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