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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-06-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, June 5, 2002


  • [01] New air traffic rules could land Turkey in court for violations
  • [02] Cyprus Institute aims for top world research billing
  • [03] Scientists say more tests needed before antenna work can go ahead
  • [04] Greek-Turkish Cypriot Chambers promote training programmes
  • [05] Consumer services seek extra to staff
  • [06] UN mines action team assesses Cyprus minefields
  • [07] Parents warn of action across Limassol in pollution protest
  • [08] Welfare department defends management of child hostels

  • [01] New air traffic rules could land Turkey in court for violations

    By Soteris Charalambous

    TURKEY could face international legal action over airspace violations once Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, takes over control of Cypriot air space from June 24, informed sources in Brussels indicated yesterday.

    If proposals currently being finalised are approved, from June 24, Eurocontrol, will exercise overall authority over Cypriot air space and have the right to take legal action against unauthorised use of the air space by Turkish aircraft in the occupied north of the island, the European source told the Cyprus Mail.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou is scheduled to meet with Eurocontrol in Brussels to finalise details regarding changes in the management of air space that will effectively see the level of all air traffic at an operational level through Cyprus determined by the European body.

    Eurocontol was founded in 1960 with the objective of creating a common air traffic control environment throughout Europe. Since 1996, the organisation has provided an air traffic flow management service throughout the airspace of 30 European countries, which matches air traffic demand to capacity.

    Significantly for Cyprus, Turkey is one of the 30 countries tied into the pan-European accord.

    The source in Brussels confirmed that the agreement would recognise only Cyprus as the local authority for the disputed airspace over the occupied area in the north of the island. He added any unauthorised use of that airspace by Turkish airlines could result in legal action in the European courts.

    Such action could be brought either by Eurocontrol itself or by the Cyprus government or civil aviation authorities, he said.

    Eurocontrol's various operating divisions span the entire range of air navigation service operations, including traffic flow, controller training, regional control of air space and the development of safety proofed technologies and procedures. The proposed changes for Cypriot air traffic control are one of a number of changes in European legislation that will make Eurocontrol the highest authority of European air space at an operational level, while the European Commission will take precedence in regulatory matters. The proposed changes will be implemented in advance of the island's anticipated accession to the European Union.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Cyprus Institute aims for top world research billing

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THE CYPRUS Development Bank believes the new Cyprus Institute it is planning to set up will, "in terms of excellence, be viewed with other world famous private elite research driven universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Santa Fe Institute," General Manager Yiannakis Ioannides said yesterday.

    He was speaking ahead of today's lunch in Nicosia to introduce the Institute, which the Development Bank has pioneered as a top new research and education centre.

    The institute's stated objective is to provide a new research and educational institute, with a strong scientific and technological orientation that would be achieved through an "evolutionary approach funded by global resources that addresses the concerns of the global community and derives its support from the global community," said Ioannides.

    The institute plans to draw upon the knowledge and expertise of some of the finest minds in the world, who will be in Cyprus over the next few days, including Nobel prize winners in Chemistry (Paul Crutzen, 1995) and Medicine (Harold Varmus, 1989) as well as professors from MIT, Harvard, Yale and Cornell and top European universities and research institutes.

    "This is one of the very rare occasions in human endeavour when so many people from so many diverse sources are congregating on a small island to address the issues of the global community," added Ioannides.

    According to a press release from the Bank, the thinking behind the new institution is to take educational standards beyond the limitations of 'traditional universities, shaped in earlier historical and technological eras, that are ill-suited to manage the newly emerged enabling technologies." It claims that "the Cyprus Institute will be attuned by design to the newest technologies, challenges and opportunities of the 21st century."

    The institute will be residential in nature and self-supporting through fees and gifts. An eventual student body of approximately 3,000 is expected, of which 2,000 will be undergraduates and 1,000 research and professional graduate students. It is estimated that the centre will require a capital investment of several hundred million euros, with ongoing operational expenses in excess of 60 million euros.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Scientists say more tests needed before antenna work can go ahead

    By Alex Mita

    BRITISH plans to start work on a massive new antenna at the Akrotiri salt lake have been called into question after a recent study by experts called for more environmental and health tests to be carried out in the area.

    Campaigners yesterday called on British authorities to stop work on the new masts until after such tests are carried out.

    Eight members from the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) in the UK carried out tests at Akrotiri to see whether electromagnetic radiation from existing antennas has had a harmful effect on the inhabitants of the area, as well as the ecological system, soon to be included in the Ramsar Convention for wetlands. After carrying out the tests, the experts proposed the rescheduling of work on the new mast until further conclusive tests could be carried out.

    Based on current data, the IEMA experts have said the bases should undertake a series of projects to ensure the well-being of the inhabitants as well as the ecological system, even going as far as to say that the SBA should have the whole wetlands transferred to another location. The latest study contradicts one carried out by the British in April.

    A Green Party member told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that moving the wetlands would be ridiculous, even if it were achievable, as the SBA would only move them a few yards away from the antennae, leaving the marsh again vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation.

    And deputy Marios Matsakis, who last year spearheaded protests against the antenna, warned that should the bases continue working on the mast, he would take strong measures that would again include mass protests. Last year's protests degenerated into violence and led to Matsakis' arrest by SBA police.

    "The experts said that the study presented by the British had many weak points," Matsakis said.

    "They have agreed with the government to hold their work until the tests are carried out, but if they don't then we will take strong measures."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Greek-Turkish Cypriot Chambers promote training programmes

    By a Staff Reporter

    GREEK CYPRIOT and Turkish Cypriot businessmen and members of their communities' respective Chambers of Commerce will leave for Brussels later this month to seek EU backing for a joint training programme.

    At an estimated cost of 1.5 million euros, the programme is part of bi- communal projects that the EU is trying to promote and provides for the training of middle-size businesses, seminars on safety in the workplace and information about how the EU is developing.

    "If we succeed in this attempt for 2002, then up to five million euros can be allocated for (the projects) next year," Vasilis Rologis, president of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) said after the meeting with Turkish Cypriot businessmen.

    The agreed draft will be handed to Gunter Verheugen, EU Commissioner responsible for enlargement, and the chief EU negotiator with Cyprus Leopold Maurer.

    Representatives of the two chambers will go to Brussels to discuss with the EU the draft before the final approval of the programmes.

    Speaking at a press conference Rologis said no direct funding to businesses is provided for in this year's training programme and that such a prospect would be discussed for 2003.

    He also said that it is too early to begin joint business activities.

    Rologis said the past few meetings between the two chambers had been "very successful" and neither side tried to introduce political considerations at the discussions.

    "There was a spirit of cooperation in out attempt to make the most of EU funding," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Consumer services seek extra to staff

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE MINISTRY of Commerce and Industry plans to ask the House of Representatives to increase the number of employees involved in the consumer protection services, Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    The Consumers Association as well as the Ministry's Consumer and Protection Services have long complained that inadequate staffing have made it virtually impossible to implement strict controls regulating retail.

    Rolandis was speaking after a meeting with representatives of left-wing trade union federation (PEO) to discuss the assortment of problems faced by consumers.

    In light of Cyprus' impending EU accession and market liberalisation, the Minister said that if certain controls were not put into place, "consumers will be left vulnerable and unprotected from those individuals that are out to take advantage of them".

    Rolandis suggested that PEO reactivate its Advisory Committee that had been set up seven years ago to deal with consumer issues in an effort to help facilitate the problem.

    In fact, he said, the Ministry was currently studying the creation of a minor offences court, so that "a consumer facing some sort of problem does not have to enter a timely and costly procedure to see that his or her rights are vindicated".

    PEO's acting permanent secretary Soteris Fellas characterised the meeting as fruitful and expressed the hope that all necessary measures would be taken soon so as to ensure consumers were being protected.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] UN mines action team assesses Cyprus minefields

    By a Staff Reporter

    A TEAM of UN consultants has arrived in Cyprus to offer recommendations on government plans to de-mine part of the island's heavily fortified ceasefire line, a Cypriot official said yesterday.

    The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) team will be on the island for a week and conduct surveys of minefields along the 180km line which divides the island.

    "The team has already started consultations with government officials with regard to our initiative to de-mine the line," government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said.

    The UNMAS team will file recommendations on a course of action to follow after consultations with local officials, diplomatic sources said.

    Cyprus has offered to clear what are believed to be hundreds of landmines in and around the buffer zone, a no-man's land corridor manned by United Nations peacekeepers.

    The occupied north is not participating in the project.

    There are some 38 minefields and booby-trapped areas within the buffer zone corridor and a further 73 minefields located within 500 metres of it, according to past UN reports.

    It is believed that more than 16,000 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines are buried in fenced-off areas.

    Most of the fields are clearly marked, keeping casualties low. In 1997 a Greek Cypriot was killed when he entered a minefield to retrieve his dog, while two peacekeepers from Argentina had a narrow escape when a bulldozer they were in shielded them from the impact of a blast in an unmarked field.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Parents warn of action across Limassol in pollution protest

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE Parents' Association of a primary school in the Chiflikoudia area of Limassol yesterday went ahead and closed down the school indefinitely, in an overt show of protest over continuing pollution from the nearby Nemitsas foundry.

    Chiflikoudia area residents and the parents of pupils currently enrolled in the school gathered in front of the school at 7.30am yesterday. Green Party deputy George Perdikis and Limassol Mayor Demetris Kontides were also among the protestors.

    The party of 100 demonstrators then marched towards the town's new port where they blocked off traffic for 15 minutes, parent and resident Bernadette Charalambous told the Cyprus Mail.

    Parents' Association representative Kyriacos Valanides said the residents and parents were fed up with the foundry's chemical emissions and that despite the dangers they posed to their health, and particularly to the health of their children, the Nemitsas company was constantly being given extensions to solve the problem.

    "But I wonder what sort of extension can be given to the vulnerable lives of the pupils?" he asked, warning they were prepared to take their measures further, even as far as to call a general strike involving all Limassol primary schools, as they had full support from the town's Primary School Parents' Federation.

    "We plan to continue acting and reacting intensely," said Valanides, "until someone in authority takes notice and something is done to improve the situation."

    The frustrated locals called on deputies, mayors, municipal advisors, political parties and organised bodies to "come together in unison and demand a humane and healthy environment for the 5,000 residents living in the afflicted area".

    Eyewitnesses reported the atmosphere yesterday morning was tense and minor scuffles erupted between drivers and protestors.

    Campaigners accuse the government of covering up a health report commissioned on the pollution effects of the foundry. The report has never been published, though the government did ask Nemitsas to install extra filtering devices as a result of its findings.

    A similar report carried out by the same team of British-based researchers led to the closure of the Ergates foundry outside Nicosia, after it found residents' health was being adversely affected by emissions.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides had pledged to close down the Nemitsas foundry if similar findings were reported.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Welfare department defends management of child hostels

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE WELFARE Department yesterday hit back at allegations of negligence at its hostels for abused children, denying claims they were failing to look after the children in their care.

    Lawyer George Kazantzis on Tuesday told the Nicosia District Court that children at Welfare Department hostels were uncontrolled and unprotected, charging one hostel with letting a 16-year-old girl become pregnant by a 28- year-old man.

    He was speaking at the remand hearing of a couple suspected of child abuse and accused of breaking in to a hostel and allegedly threatening their 14- year-old daughter in an effort to prevent her testifying in court. The couple were remanded in custody for three days, while police investigate charges of harassment against the daughter and a social worker, and illegal entry into the hostel.

    The allegations made in court spurred the Head of the Social Welfare Department, Evanthia Papasavva, to release a public statement yesterday, denying that a girl had got pregnant and refuting the claims that children in hostels were out of control.

    "Our main aim is protection of the child, while at the same time helping the family function satisfactorily so it can accept the child back under better conditions."

    Papasavva maintained hostels were run with small numbers and personnel present on a 24-hour basis, adding they were managed along similar lines to a family environment, with similar rules and regulations.

    Children can stay in a hostel for anything from one week to several years, until they eventually go back to their natural parents or to a foster home. Social workers are assigned to supervise the children while psychologists are available during their stay.

    Papasavva described the difficulties of dealing with such circumstances for all involved, insisting threats of violence were made not only to the child but very often against the social worker or other officials who have taken on the responsibility to protect the child.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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