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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 23, 2002


  • [01] Interior Minister pledges to act on Cape Greco rubbish dump
  • [02] Palestinians fly off to new destinations
  • [03] They'll be watching you
  • [04] CTO defends its record on special interest tourism
  • [05] Police raid home of C.T. Tobacco president
  • [06] Greece categorical: no enlargement without Cyprus
  • [07] KOP changes rules on foreign football players quota

  • [01] Interior Minister pledges to act on Cape Greco rubbish dump

    By Alex Mita

    INTERIOR Minister Andreas Panayiotou yesterday pledged to act after revelations in the Sunday Mail that a rubbish dump had been sited bang in the middle of signposted beauty spot.

    After reading Sunday's article about Ayia Napa Municipality's decision to site a rubbish dump just yards away from the sea caves at Cape Greco, Panayiotou visited the area and said he was appalled by the foul tip that tourists found when they followed the signs to the sea caves.

    "It is unacceptable," he told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "It's disgraceful that such a site was placed in the area and it's shameful for us as Cypriots when tourists send letters expressing their frustration and disbelief."

    The Interior Minister was also sympathetic to the paper's vain attempts to get an answer from Ayia Napa Mayor Varvara Pericleous. Enquiries were handed down to a council official who claimed the site had been there for a long time, adding there was no other site in the entire Ayia Napa area which could host a rubbish dump.

    Panayiotou promised he would speak with the Mayor and assured that the rubbish dump would be the first thing on his agenda when he meets District Officials this week.

    The Interior Minister asked for the public's patience and pledged to have a positive answer in two weeks' time.

    The Sunday Mail was tipped off about the dump letters from furious tourists, horrified at finding the area had been transformed from serene grain fields to a rotting fly infested dump.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Palestinians fly off to new destinations

    By Jean Christou

    TWELVE of the 13 Palestinians brought to Cyprus following the 39-day siege at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem left from Larnaca Airport early yesterday under heavy guard.

    The 13th Palestinian will remain in Cyprus for some weeks yet until a new destination in Europe can be found for him, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said. The Minister declined to reveal his identity following speculation that he is Abdullah Daoud, one of Israel's most wanted men, who was in charge of Palestinian intelligence in Bethlehem.

    According to reports from Larnaca, the men, who have been holed up at Larnaca's Flamingo Hotel since May 10, were taken to the airport in a police bus escorted by police cars filled with anti-riot squad personnel.

    The men hung a Palestinian flag from the windows of the bus and flashed the 'V' for victory sign. They then embraced each other before splitting up to board the separate planes.

    One of the Palestinians, who had been hospitalised on Tuesday for an ulcer complaint, was taken to the airport in an ambulance and was helped by police to board the Italian plane. Another whose leg had been broken by an Israeli sniper bullet was walking on crutches.

    The militants also embraced Palestinian officials, including Samir Abou Ghazaleh the Palestinian representative in Cyprus. "We are happy this first stage has been concluded but a the same time saddened seeing citizens uprooted from their homeland whose only crime was defending it," he said.

    Three of the men boarded the Italian jet at around 8.40am, while the other nine left some 10 minutes later aboard the Spanish plane, which took two of them to Greece, three to Spain, two to Ireland, one to Portugal and one to Belgium.

    Speaking after their departure, Cassoulides expressed the government's satisfaction with the successful completion of the operation and congratulated the EU Spanish Presidency for all the efforts it had made towards the successful operation.

    "Cyprus has shown patience awaiting for the agreements to be made in the EU, " he said referring to the nearly two weeks of wrangling within the bloc on the issue of who would take the Palestinians.

    "A 13th person remains in Cyprus most probably for a few weeks until it is demonstrated that the 12 are well absorbed in the countries of their long temporary stay and this will prompt either one of the existing countries that are receiving the Palestinians or another EU country to accept him as well," Cassoulides said, adding that who had gone where would remain classified information.

    Ghazaleh expressed gratitude to Cyprus for having temporarily hosted the Palestinians. He said Cyprus had provided the best hospitality and security to them. "Being away from the homeland is very difficult," he added.

    Spanish Ambassador Ignacio Garcia Valdecasas said the EU in general and the EU Spanish Presidency in particular had been most grateful to the government of Cyprus for contributing to the settlement of the issue.

    "Everything went perfectly well," he said. "Everything was very well organised by the Cypriot services and the Cypriot government."

    The EU Council of Ministers has said the Palestinians would be received in Europe on a temporary basis "and exclusively on humanitarian grounds".

    The will be subject to the laws of their host countries, which will be responsible for housing, social security, work permits and family reunions, EU diplomats said. Residence permits will be issued initially for 12 months after which the situation will be reviewed. The men will remain under police surveillance and will not be able to travel outside their host country.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] They'll be watching you

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    POLICE confirmed yesterday they were considering installing surveillance systems in public places, sparking concerns from civil liberties campaigners.

    A letter from the Chief of Police to his district commanders, published in yesterday's Haravghi, revealed intentions to set up 24-hour surveillance systems in public areas up and down the country to improve law enforcement capabilities and prevent crime. The chief asked his subordinates to indicate specific public areas where such a system would best be placed.

    Deputy Police Chief Anastasiades Panayiotou confirmed the details to the Cyprus Mail yesterday: "The police, in an effort to prevent and suppress crime, are moving towards this direction." He played down fears of abuse of powers, saying that police had no intention of invading the privacy of politicians and civilians but would act according to existing legislation. He gave drug trafficking as an example of the type of crime that could be targeted by such surveillance.

    But the Justice Ministry said yesterday the plans were still at a preliminary stage. Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr. Lazaros Savvides said: "The Ministry was not aware of this particular measure and no funds were allocated for it in the 2002 budget. This does not rule out the possibility of it being suggested for next year's budget. In the meantime, Mr. (Nicos) Koshis has asked for a comprehensive study of the issue to be submitted by the police authority."

    Savvides could not specify which area of law enforcement would warrant or benefit from such a service. In response to fears over violations on the right to privacy, he indicated that the Commissioner for the Protection of Personal Data would be overseeing any issues that might arise.

    Prominent human rights lawyer Achilleas Demetriades could not say whether such a move would violate privacy laws, but warned: "Four main issues need to be examined before any decisions can be made. These are questions of: permits, privacy, admissibility and mandate."

    If police wished to set up surveillance cameras in various parts of town they would need building permits to place the equipment on whichever structures. This would involve local authorities and the town-planning department issuing such permits, he said.

    If the police department wanted to monitor areas where the public have full access, would there be signboards notifying the public that they were being recorded?

    Would these video recordings be admissible in court?

    This begged the question of mandate, Demetriades continued. Under what criteria would closed circuit television (CCTV) be installed? Would it be used to gather information or assist in criminal cases? Could it be sold to media organisations?

    In the past decade, the use of CCTV for surveillance and crime control has grown to unprecedented levels. Britain has been at the forefront in implementing CCTV but America and the rest of Europe are not far behind.

    However, the effectiveness and results of the system are ambiguous. Lower crime rates in areas under surveillance are often the result of many factors, while the risks of mistaken identity, invasion of privacy and even voyeurism are higher than expected.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] CTO defends its record on special interest tourism

    By Jean Christou

    THE CYPRUS Tourism Organisation (CTO) said yesterday it was angered by comments expressed by a leading Cypriot tourism expert, who told the Sunday Mail that more should be done to promote special interest tourism.

    In a three-page statement, the CTO listed all of the projects it had undertaken to diversify the tourist product and the efforts it was making to pursue this course.

    Louis Marketing Manager and president of the Association for Cultural and Special Interest Tourism George Michaelides last week told the Mail that tourism in Cyrus needed to be approached from a completely new angle. He said a study carried out in the UK showed the trend was for only 20 per cent of visitors to want beach holidays, compared to 43 per cent who were interested in special interest holidays.

    Michaelides said the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) was in possession of all the information and trends from abroad, but that the information was not being used or implemented.

    The CTO said it was surprised at the comments considering the strides that had been made for special interest tourism. Although Michaelides had said there had been some development in that area, he insisted more could be done.

    Yesterday's statement cited sports tourism, cultural tourism, conference and incentive tourism and marine tourism as themes which had been developed.

    "We didn't get to the level we are today without the effort and hard work of the CTO and the government," the statement said.

    It added that more developments included the creation of golf courses and marinas, and that promotional videos were being prepared for various aspects of special interest tourism. Trips for tour operators and foreign media were also ongoing to promote these themes, the statement said.

    "It is gratuitous to suggest that the CTO does not promote special interest tourism as much as sun and sea tourism," it said. The organisation was following a strategic plan, which was drawn up by all those involved in the tourism industry.

    In response to comments by Michaelides about the makeup of the CTO board, saying it should not include doctors and lawyers over those in the tourism industry, a CTO spokesman said yesterday that since the current board had only been in office for two year it was unfair to criticise them.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Police raid home of C.T. Tobacco president

    Nicosia police yesterday confirmed reports that the offices and home of Christophoros Tournaritis, President of C.T. Tobacco, were raided on Tuesday evening and again yesterday as part of an investigation into cigarette smuggling.

    The search was carried out for evidence of Tournaritis' involvement in the smuggling of cigarettes throughout Europe.

    The operation was jointly co-ordinated by the police, Customs and Excise officers and four European customs officers.

    The Cyprus government in March denied that the island was involved in cigarette smuggling, and that it was providing all necessary information to international crime fighting units.

    "There is nothing illegal concerning Cyprus and the movement of cigarettes, " Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said.

    The denials followed media reports that Cyprus was being used as a transit point for huge quantities of illicit cigarettes.

    Cyprus was named in a lawsuit filed by the European Union against tobacco manufacturers R.J Reynolds and Philip Morris.

    The EU said the firms were breaking the UN-imposed embargo on Iraq by smuggling cigarettes through Spain, Cyprus and Turkey.

    Italy has also accused Cyprus of being a transit point for cigarette smuggling.

    The British government claim that a third of the cigarettes smoked in the UK are smuggled and that Cyprus has become a principal hub for the illicit traffic.

    British Customs and Excise believe that most of the six billion cigarettes exported to Cyprus are smuggled back into the UK by criminal organisations.

    A ship owned by Tournaritis attempted to ram a boat of armed customs officers off the coast of Crete in August 2000, according to reports.

    After seizing the vessel, the officers discovered seven million packets of British cigarettes worth approximately 17 million on the black market in the UK.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Greece categorical: no enlargement without Cyprus

    THE GREEK Parliament will not ratify the European Union Accession Treaty if Cyprus is not included in it, the President of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, said yesterday.

    The assurances were given by Kaklamanis to President Glafcos Clerides, who said this position was "a huge help in the search for a political settlement" in Cyprus.

    Clerides arrived in Athens yesterday for talks with the country's political leadership, and in particular Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Kaklamanis praised the President for his efforts to reunite Cyprus and enable its people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to progress and prosper.

    "The accession of Cyprus to the EU guarantees exactly this prospect," Kaklamanis said, adding the Greek Parliament had made it known it would not ratify any EU treaty of accession unless Cyprus was part of it. This, he stressed, was a matter of justice and good faith among EU members.

    Clerides thanked Kaklamanis and the Greek Parliament for their support to the people of Cyprus and said the position outlined by Kaklamanis had already yielded results.

    "This position is an immense assistance in the search for a settlement," the President said.

    Earlier, Clerides met his Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos. No statements were made after the meeting.

    Before leaving Larnaca Airport yesterday morning, Clerides said he would be discussing the four core issues of the Cyprus problem with Simitis.

    "We have looked into various scenarios, we have exchanged various views and we are going to Athens to listen to the views of the Greek government concerning these scenarios or these issues and others," he said.

    Asked whether there had been a change of climate in the ongoing UN-led talks, since UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's recent visit to the island, Clerides said: "It is still early to tell whether acceleration of the talks process has been achieved."

    This will be ascertained during the talks that will follow in June, he said.

    Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged in UN- led direct talks since mid January this year.

    Later yesterday, Clerides was due to visit Archbishop Chrysostomos, who is in hospital in Athens receiving treatment after injuries he sustained from a bad fall last month.

    The President is accompanied by Attorney-general Alecos Markides, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou and Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.

    Today, Clerides will meet the leader of the main opposition party New Democracy Costas Karamanlis, the party's honorary president Constantinos Mitsotakis and leaders of other political parties before returning to Cyprus in the afternoon.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] KOP changes rules on foreign football players quota

    Last night the Cypriot Football Federation (KOP) announced rule changes regarding quotas on foreign players allowed per team. The number of foreign players teams are permitted to field is increased from three to five on the condition that at least one of the five is from the European Union.

    The rule changes will take effect from the forthcoming 2002/3 season, which starts on 24th August.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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