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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-07-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, July 12, 2002


  • [01] Popular Bell helicopters 'don't have a bad safety record'
  • [02] UN losing patience, says Cassoulides
  • [03] Anti-drugs law falls over penalties for 'unauthorised' campaigners
  • [04] 'Death bend' crash victim awarded 370,000
  • [05] Controversial age of consent bill is passed
  • [06] You may be on holiday - but the burglars aren't
  • [07] Three charged with putting up anarchist posters
  • [08] Stocks hit new low
  • [09] Jewel thieves in 100,000 heist

  • [01] Popular Bell helicopters 'don't have a bad safety record'

    By Jean Christou

    ACCORDING to the US-based National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Bell helicopters have been involved in 185 accidents with 75 fatalities in the past five years.

    The Bell 206L-3, the model involved in Wednesday's crash which killed National Guard Commander Evangelos Florakis and four others, has clocked up 18 accidents and five fatalities in the same period.

    Reports on the 18 accidents for the most part involved external factors, the final reports said. But in preliminary investigations on the most recent five cases, all non-fatal, the pilots reported engine failure. The final report in a sixth case of alleged engine failure found that the engine had failed due to lack of proper maintenance, the NTSB said.

    David Learmount, Operations and Safety Editor of UK-based Flight International magazine, who publishes a helicopter safety survey each year, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that Bell is the most common and most popular make of helicopter in the world "and they don't have a bad safety record".

    "When an accident happens it's a combination of lots of things," he said. "Helicopters are a very technically and mechanically complicated aircraft compared with fixed wing planes, and mechanical things are more likely to go wrong with them far more often. But with Bells more than with others? No, not really, not in proportion to how many of them there are in use. This is the most popular type of helicopter on the face of the planet," Learmount added.

    He said that helicopter accidents are more likely have a component of mechanical failure than fixed-wing aircraft accidents, which more often involve a human factor.

    "It all depends on what they are doing at the time. Helicopters are only used because nothing else can do the job. So that means they get used in situations where frankly you're asking for trouble. You're in a difficult position to start with," Learmount said.

    Referring to his annual helicopter safety survey, he said that it's "absolutely horrific" to read the kind of accidents helicopters are involved in. "In equal measure it's to do with mechanical complexity and the kind of things people expect of them," he added.

    "Hovering next to an oil rig in a Force 10 storm in the middle of the North Sea in a cloud of spray so you can hardly see a thing, trying to haul people out of 30-foot waves bashing against the sides... it's just a great place to be and that's what search and rescue helicopters do. No one else would put themselves in this situation. So if anyone said to me 'does that outfit have a good safety record?' I'd be very angry at them for asking such a stupid question."

    Commenting on accident eyewitness accounts in general, Learmount said witnesses were often wrong in what they saw because they are actually about to witness something quite shocking that they were not expecting to see.

    "They don't know it's going to be shocking and then all of a sudden it is -- and then when they do a replay in their brain of what they saw, it often comes out in reverse order," he said. "Very often you get twang, aircraft in trouble, fireball.... but on mental replay it's fireball, trouble, twang."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] UN losing patience, says Cassoulides

    By Jean Christou

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday the United Nations was losing patience over the lack of progress on the Cyprus problem.

    Cassoulides told journalists that was the message the recent UN Security Council statement was sending. The Security Council issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the Turkish Cypriot side had been "less constructive" than the Greek Cypriot side in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash began on January 16 this year, but six months later no progress has been made. The talks will resume on July 16 when UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto returns to the island after briefing the Security Council earlier this week.

    Cassoulides referred to the Council's clear position that the effort made by de Soto to determine the component parts of a comprehensive settlement should take fully into consideration the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus, but most importantly that the Turkish side should change its views.

    The Foreign Minister said that the time left for a solution to the Cyprus issue was narrowing.

    "It is not possible for us to continue (with the talks) after October without any constructive and significant effort on the four core issues of the Cyprus problem - governance, security, territory and property", Cassoulides said.

    Referring to the political situation in Turkey, he said the government was following developments very closely.

    "The political instability, uncertainty and the possibility of early elections in Turkey do not help, since there is a possibility that they give Denktash the chance to hide behind those developments and continue with his intransigent stance", he said.

    Commenting on the Security Council statement, Denktash was yesterday quoted as saying that if the international community did not begin to act impartially "by giving up the biased attitude it has been displaying for 40 years, then the issue naturally remains at an impasse".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Anti-drugs law falls over penalties for 'unauthorised' campaigners

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE PROSPECT of unauthorised anti-drugs campaigners being locked up in prison for operating without a licence led to the postponement by the House yesterday of new legislation.

    A clause proposed by the Legal Services would impose a penalty of up to six months in jail or a fine of 1,000 on anti-drugs campaigners who do not first secure approval for their campaigns from the Anti-drugs Council, which is chaired by the Health Minister.

    Kyriakos Veresies of KENTHEA, an education and treatment centre for drugs users, saw the law as prohibiting newspaper articles, leaflets and campaigns against drugs without the approval of the council.

    "You can't have volunteers working on drug prevention while simultaneously holding them in fear of incarceration," said Veresies.

    Health Minister Frixos Savvides, chairman of the 14-member anti-drug council, said the council has the authority to approve the content of anti- drugs campaigns. "However a penalty of some sort must be imposed to deter misinformation: what type is a question for parliament," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    Tonia Bayada of the Anti-drug Council admitted yesterday that the issue of penalties was controversial, but highlighted the importance of talks between the competent authorities and organisations. "We need to find a way of enforcing the guidelines set by the council," Bayada said.

    She acknowledged the need for criteria and procedures for licensing to be set before penalties can be implemented, but warned that control over the wide spectrum of anti-drugs activity was imperative.

    The Anti-drug Council has in the past disapproved of various campaigns by municipalities involving 'in your face' images of needles and skulls on posters.

    The chairman of the Anti-drugs Association, Georgios Michanikos, agreed with the need for a penalty of some sort, saying: "Many different organisations exist which need to be controlled by one regulatory body. They should not be given the freedom to do whatever they choose."

    A decision on penalties will be taken at a later date, Savvides said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] 'Death bend' crash victim awarded 370,000

    By Jean Christou

    A FILIPINA who sustained horrific injuries in a mini-bus crash at Moniatis in January 2000 had been awarded 370,000 in damages, her lawyers said yesterday.

    Telia Marquilencia, 43, who before the accident was a domestic worker in Larnaca, has been left bed-ridden and needing 24-hour medical care for the rest of her life.

    Eight Filipinos, including a two-year-old boy, died in the accident on January 30, 2000.

    Her lawyer Elena Erotokritou said that before the accident, Marquilencia was an energetic outgoing, friendly single woman who enjoyed going to church and to the cinema.

    "She was perfectly normal before the accident," Erotokritou said. "As a result of the accident she has lost her livelihood, and doctors say there is no potential for recovery or even improvement."

    Marquilencia sustained such serious head injuries and neurological damage that she was left permanently brain damaged, a condition which has not only left her totally dependent on others but has also changed her personality.

    Erotokritou said she is now totally disoriented as regards place and time. She has memory lapses, insomnia and is uncommunicative, restless and even abusive at times.

    Doctors say her condition is so severe that she needs psychiatric monitoring as well as physical care. Marquilencia is also in danger of suffering from post-traumatic epilepsy and atrophy, and despite months of physiotherapy has not made any progress.

    "She is not capable of enjoyment of her life in any sense," Erotokritou said. "She has to remain in bed for the rest of her life and has to be washed, dressed and fed."

    Now that the compensation case has been settled, Philippines Consul Yiannakis Erotokritou, who is joint administrator of the award with the Cyprus Welfare Department, intends to travel to the Philippines to look for a suitable nursing home where Marquilencia can be cared for.

    Her family wants her back in the Philippines and her sister has been in Cyprus to help look after her since August 2000.

    "The Consul has informed the Philippine authorities and they are trying to find a suitable place," Erotokritou said.

    Costas Zipitis, the driver of the mini-bus in the Moniatis accident, was jailed for 15 months last November after being fund guilty of causing death by negligence.

    The vehicle smashed into a two-metre high concrete barrier on a sharp curve known as the 'death bend' between Moniatis and Platres, overturning and skidding 200 metres down the road. The bus reportedly had a problem with the clutch and veered off course.

    Zipitis was carrying a group of 36 mostly Filipino day-trippers, including seven children, to Larnaca after a day out in the snow.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Controversial age of consent bill is passed

    By George Psyllides

    THE HOUSE yesterday approved more than 50 bills, including the controversial law raising the age of consent for heterosexuals to 17, while a further 31 were withdrawn by the government.

    The age of consent for heterosexuals was raised to 17 in an effort to abolish any discrimination between homosexuals and heterosexuals.

    The House had initially planned last week to reduce the age of consent for homosexual males to 16 from 18, to bring it into line with legislation on heterosexuals.

    But the House Legal Affairs Committee decided instead to raise the age of consent for heterosexuals to 17, to avoid having to reduce the age for homosexuals to 16.

    On Wednesday both the state legal service and deputies were unable to say what the implications of raising the legal age of consent for heterosexuals would be, since it would make it illegal for anyone under 17 to have sex.

    In essence it means that as from today, anyone having sexual relations with a 16-year-old will be committing a criminal offence.

    The compromise law is the result of intense pressure exerted on Cyprus by the European Union to abolish discrimination between homosexuals and heterosexuals.

    Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1998, five years after gay activist Alecos Modinos won his battle at the European Court of Human Rights, which condemned Cyprus over its poor treatment of homosexuals.

    The House also approved stiff sentences regarding sexual intercourse with minors yesterday.

    According to the new law, any attempt to have sex with a person under 13 is punishable by up to 13 years in jail, while full intercourse can lead to life in prison.

    Intercourse with a person aged between 13 and 17 is now punishable by up to three years in jail.

    The plenum passed more than 50 other bills out of a total of 108, while 31 were withdrawn by the government.

    More than 10 bills were deemed incomplete and were either referred back to the relevant House committees or to the July 25 plenary session, which will be the last before the summer recess.

    There will be no plenary session next week, although the House will convene in a special session on Monday, July 15, for its annual condemnation of the 1974 coup and subsequent Turkish invasion.

    The final session on July 25 is expected to discuss a plethora of bills concerning EU harmonisation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] You may be on holiday - but the burglars aren't

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    AUGUST is burglary month in Cyprus, and police yesterday issued advice to help avoid becoming a victim of casual theft during the traditional holiday period.

    Although Cyprus still boasts low rates of burglary and theft, police warn that such crimes always increase when people are away on their summer holidays.

    Empty homes and relaxed holidaymakers make for rich pickings for thieves trying to stock up on other people's property.

    Prevention is the key, police say. "Most burglaries and thefts are perpetrated when opportunities are given to criminals," for example.

    The police advice -- given out every year -- might sound like common sense to most, but many people surprisingly ignore it.

    For example, police advise never to leave valuables unattended in a public place. Cars should not be left unlocked, nor should windows or doors be left open when no one is at home.

    "When absent from your home do not leave indications which advertise your absence," police also advise.

    Keys should not be left in doors, not even on the inside if there is a window nearby which could be smashed to allow a burglar to open the door.

    Residents are being encouraged to co-operate with police by tipping them off if they suspect burglars might be 'casing' the property of someone who is away.

    "Let police know if someone you don't know rings your doorbell and then says they are looking for someone you've never heard of," police advise. This is a favourite tactic for burglars eager to find out if a property is empty.

    "The success of the police is down to help from the public, and we ask them to continue supporting us by providing information about people acting suspiciously," Andreas Christodoulou of Nicosia CID said yesterday.

    Sixty cases of burglary have been reported in the capital so far this year. Thirty of these have taken place in the past 40 days alone.

    Four Georgians are in custody after being arrested when a member of the public told the police of suspicious activity in the Pallouriotissa area.

    The four are suspected of being in a gang thought to have stolen up to 52, 000 worth of property, 30,000 of which has so far been recovered.

    Police said three of the suspects are in the country illegally. The fourth holds a Greek passport.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Three charged with putting up anarchist posters

    TWO 25-year-old men and a pupil, 17, were yesterday charged and released by Limassol police in connection with putting up posters illegally.

    The three were arrested at around 3am after officers said they caught them putting up posters with anarchist content for the second time in four hours.

    They were initially seen on Gladstone Street at around 11pm, when officers warned them to stop what they were doing and leave the area.

    The men obeyed, but were allegedly caught again at 3am on the same street.

    They were arrested and taken to Limassol police HQ where they were charged with putting up posters illegally and released.

    According to the police, the posters containing slogans like "Burn the (British) bases" were put up by a group calling itself 'Anarchists for Social Revolution'.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Stocks hit new low

    STOCK prices hit another new low yesterday as the all-share index dropped to 90 points, a 1.24 per cent fall. Volume for the day was only 573,000, while the blue chips FTSE fell 0.99 per cent to 385 points.

    For the second day in a row trading opened under the previous day's close and continued to slide without any respite. Only 19 titles recorded gains compared with 56 decliners and 70 that closed unchanged.

    The stock market has fallen more than 700 points since November 1999.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Jewel thieves in 100,000 heist

    LIMASSOL police are investigating the theft of jewellery and watches worth 100,000 from a jewellery shop in the town's tourist area.

    Police said at least three burglars broke into Marina Theodoridou's shop early yesterday. They used wooden beams from an adjacent construction site to ram the door open.

    The robbery was discovered yesterday morning by the owner who told police that the stolen goods were not covered by insurance.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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