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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-07-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, July 13, 2002


  • [01] Gunships go public for first time in burial salute
  • [02] Second Flight Lieutenant buried
  • [03] Hasikos: media speculation has to stop
  • [04] Nation farewells a model leader
  • [05] EAC in satellite venture
  • [06] Tourism down but not out
  • [07] Direct talks: 'nothing lost but little gained'
  • [08] 'Cool down' centre in Nicosia
  • [09] Ex-boyfriend allegedly stole over £50,000

  • [01] Gunships go public for first time in burial salute

    By George Psyllides

    ONE of the National Guard's most potent weapons, the Russian-made Mil-Mi35 attack helicopters, made its first public appearance in the Paphos skies yesterday during the burial of the force's Commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis who was killed in a helicopter accident on Wednesday.

    But the government's decision to use the Russian gunships as a final honorary salute to Florakis could provoke reactions from the Turkish side, according to a diplomatic source.

    "In terms of escalating a potentially tense situation on the island, demonstrations of military material by either side is counter-productive for the course, which they are currently on, to find a settlement," the source told the Cyprus Mail.

    The diplomat added that regardless of the current situation in Turkey, military posturing of any sort by either side was not a good idea since there was an ongoing effort to produce a settlement of the Cyprus problem. "This does not contribute to it; it has the opposite effect," the source said.

    "It gives the Turkish Cypriot side the excuse to say that they (Greek Cypriots) are not serious about a solution by displaying their weapons for everyone to see."

    According to the same source, the display could have been the military mind at work - to give the chief a good send-off, or a good excuse to get their own back for the increase in the numbers of Turkish troops in the north.

    A military analyst echoed the diplomatic concerns. "A bit more self- restraint was needed to avoid giving any pretexts to the other side," the analyst said.

    "They kept them under wraps for so long and suddenly they put them on display," he said. "It was not the time to showcase the helicopters; it was an ill-considered action

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail last night that no reactions were expected. "The various flying means owned by the Republic are put into use at times," Papapetrou said.

    Commenting on Turkey's reaction following reports that Cyprus had procured the helicopters, Papapetrou was diplomatic. "They asked us if we acquired 48 (helicopters), we denied it," Papapetrou said.

    The Mil-Mi35 'Hind' is considered one of the most potent attack helicopters in service today. It is armoured and carries an array of weapons ranging from anti-tank missiles, rockets, and heavy guns. It is probably the only attack helicopter that can carry eight troops.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Second Flight Lieutenant buried

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    JUST SIX hours after the solemn service that marked the death of National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis, hundreds of mourners filled the church courtyard in Nicosia again to commiserate the loss of Flight Lieutenant Paris Athanassiades who was killed in a helicopter accident on Wednesday.

    The captain of the fallen helicopter died in the fatal accident along with four other officers including: the National Guard Commander, Air Force Commander Brigadier Stelios Demenagas, 50, Naval Lieutenant Nicolas Georgiou, 30, and 26-year-old co-pilot Flight Lieutenant Michalis Shiakallis.

    The Cyprus Air Force contingent honoured the late captain on the coffin's arrival, draped with the flags of Greece and Cyprus, as officers from all National Guard branches filled the church courtyard along with relatives and friends of the deceased to pay their last respects to Athanassiades.

    Attending the funeral to pay their tribute was Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos, Deputy Chief of the National Guard Lieutenant General Phivos Klokkaris, House President Demetris Christofias, Attorney-general Alecos Markides and high-ranking National Guard officers.

    In his eulogy, Squadron Leader Gavril Pattichis said: "I will never forget the passionate flame and dream you held for the liberation of our country. Those of us you left behind promise never to forget or rest until your dream becomes a reality."

    The 33-year-old pilot left behind a wife and three young daughters.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Hasikos: media speculation has to stop

    By George Psyllides

    DEFENCE Minister Socratis Hasikos yesterday renewed his plea to the media to stop speculating about the causes of the helicopter accident that killed the National Guard Commander and four other officers on Wednesday morning.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport shortly before the arrival of Greek Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Hasikos rubbished media reports claiming that the Bell 206 helicopter carrying the officers had been unsuitable.

    "The (army's) flying means are in excellent condition and proof of this is that we use them to fly without endangering anyone," Hasikos said.

    He added: "And those who do not believe this could come and see me flying in a Bell today."

    Concerning the safety of night flights, Hasikos said whoever was spreading rumours that the helicopters could not fly night missions was "not doing the country any service".

    "I repeat, that this speculation, unfortunately offered through the media, has to stop somewhere," Hasikos said.

    He stressed that the investigating committee should be allowed to complete its task and draft its report before the media make their conclusions.

    Six Cypriots - three helicopter pilots and three engineers - two Greek air accident investigators, and two experts from Bell-Textron and Rolls Royce are investigating the causes of the accident, which happened near the village of Kouklia, 20 km southeast of Paphos.

    Later yesterday Hasikos announced the name of the new National Guard Commander who is expected to take over next week.

    According to Hasikos, the cabinet has appointed Lieutenant General Athanassios Nikolodimos following consultations with the Greek government.

    Nicolodimos was born in 1943 at the village of Gardiki Omileon in the region of Fdiotida in Greece.

    He is a highly experienced officer who has served in many posts and has clocked many hours of flight with helicopters and aircraft of the Greek Army Air Branch.

    He is not married and speaks German and English.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Nation farewells a model leader

    By George Psyllides

    IT IS NOT very often that military officers are seen crying, but even the toughest among them could not hold their tears yesterday during the funeral in Nicosia of National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis who was killed in a helicopter accident on Wednesday.

    Four other officers were also killed in the accident: Air Force Commander Brigadier Stelios Demenagas, 50, Naval Lieutenant Nicolas Georgiou, 30, and the two aircrew, Flight Lieutenants Paris Athanassiades, 33, and 26-year- old Michalis Shiakallis.

    Hundreds of National Guard officers and citizens joined Florakis' family to pay tribute along with President Glafcos Clerides, the cabinet, Greek Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, and the Greek Chief of the National Defence General Staff General Georgios Antonakopoulos who led a group of top brass from Athens.

    The funeral was also attended by foreign military attachés and the commander of the British bases as well as the UN commander.

    Honorary guards from the army, navy, and air force presented arms as the coffin, carried by six high-ranking officers from all National Guard branches, and draped with the flags of Greece and Cyprus entered the church courtyard.

    In his eulogy, Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos said: ".the Cypriot people, the thousands of armed citizens have lost their leader, and Greece and Cyprus a brilliant general."

    "He flew continuously from Paphos to Dherynia, to every unit and National Guard exercise, with the vision of liberating the enslaved motherland, holding tight in his hands, the batten from our nation's most heroic traditions," Hasikos said.

    He added: "Evangelos Florakis was the model leader of a small army but with big capabilities."

    The minister said that Florakis was dedicated to his mission body and soul, and during this mission he fell, wearing as always his combat fatigues and boots.

    "Officers met their chief on the exercise fields not as a distant and unapproachable general but as a dusted and sweaty colleague, as a leader who led with his soul, inspiring and guiding through his example," Hasikos said.

    Florakis' brother, Vasilis, said that Evangelos was a man who "said little and did a lot; he was hard yet sensitive, the man who always took the great risk, giving everything for duty and country, and dying like an eagle".

    "Vangelis' two motherlands, Greece and Cyprus are grieving today for his loss," he added.

    The Greek Defence Minister said: "Greece, Cyprus, and Hellenism have been fighting a battle for survival for many centuries; if this battle has until now been a victorious one it is owed to men like Evangelos Florakis".

    After the end of the service people lined up the road outside the church to pay their last respects before the coffin was loaded on the hearse for the trip to Paphos, where Florakis was buried.

    There was a protracted applause from ordinary people when the pallbearers carried the coffin, followed by officers bearing the general's medals, sword, and cap.

    The scene was repeated in Paphos as the motorcade carrying the coffin approached the cemetery.

    The burial service was carried out by Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos and an honorary guard fired shots in salute while three Russian-made attack helicopters over-flew the area in their first ever official appearance.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] EAC in satellite venture

    THE ELECTRICITY Authority of Cyprus (EAC) is to take a stake in Hellas Sat, a joint Cypriot and Greek venture which will be used to broadcast the 2004 Athens Olympics, an authority official said yesterday.

    "The decision is for a 25 per cent participation and will be announced officially next week," said the official, who requested anonymity.

    The state-controlled authority, known as the EAC, is trying to diversify before market deregulation takes hold from 2004, the year Cyprus is expected to join the European Union.

    Hellas Sat is a $250 million satellite consortium between Greek and Cypriot companies which will help in the transmission of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

    Cypriot firm Avacom Net now owns 43.4 per cent in the venture, Greece's telecommunications authority OTE owns 25 percent and the Cyprus Development Bank owns 19.6 percent.

    The source could not say from which current partner or partners the 25 percent stake would be acquired.

    The EAC is holding a news conference on July 17 to announce its annual results, where financial details of the satellite deal will also be disclosed.

    The electricity authority is also eyeing the telecoms market. It is now in talks with three foreign companies on creating a joint venture to offer telecoms services.

    Its plans to bid for a mobile telephone licence, expected to be offered by auction sometime from October onwards, hinges on government approval.

    Two government ministries -- the Commerce Ministry and the Communications Ministry -- have expressed diverse opinions on whether the state-controlled organisation should be allowed to bid for a licence.

    The Communications Ministry is concerned at how competition in the sector can be safeguarded since the incumbent telecoms monopoly -- CyTA -- is also owned by the government.

    The Commerce Ministry, which is responsible for the EAC, supports its advent into the telecoms market. (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Tourism down but not out

    By Jean Christou

    TOURISM IS picking up as the peak season approaches but an overall drop is still expected by year's end, the sector reported yesterday.

    Director-general of the Hoteliers Association Zacharias Ioannides said that things were gradually improving as the peak season approached.

    "But unfortunately we are still below last year's figures," he said quoting a 20 per cent difference over last year.

    "On the other hand as we enter July, August and September we hope this (drop) will be reduced even further," he said. "The situation is bad compared to the continuing upward trend we were experiencing over the last few years but not as bad as was in previous months."

    A representative for the Hoteliers Association in Ayia Napa told the Cyprus Mail that they could see a difference between this week and last week, when the usually boisterous resort had been quiet.

    "Things are getting better but of course it's still very much behind compared to last year when we had a lot of overbooking," the representative said. "But compared to last week things are picking up."

    He said however that even so, the resort was still 20 per cent down on last year. "According to the government it will be 9-10 per cent but we can't understand why they say this," he said. "These are only predictions."

    The representative also said there were much less clubbers to be seen in Ayia Napa this year. "There are some but they are well behaved. The others have moved to Faliraki in Rhodes," he said adding that the clubbing scene tends to move from place to place every couple of years.

    The only problem for Ayia Napa he said is that it's been hit by a double whammy in the sense that not only is tourism down in general but it has also lost the biggest part of the clubbing scene.

    "The clubs here are bringing DJs from abroad but there are more decent people coming this year and everyone is having a good time. Some people are complaining that we want the clubbers when everything else is down but thank God not everyone agrees with them."

    Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said in the long- term Cyprus would probably be better off without the hard-core clubbing scene. He said they had not so much abandoned Ayia Napa but were just following the general trends of the clubbing scene.

    Commenting on the overall tourism situation Rolandis said the fact that numbers seemed to be picking up was proof that things were moving the way he had predicted months ago.

    "This is what was reconfirmed to me a few days ago," he said. "Twenty days ago we had the conclusions of the main operators which normally are not wrong," he added referring to the predicted overall nine per cent drop by the end of the year.

    "When they (hoteliers) tell you Ayia Napa is a little better it means it's a lot better," Rolandis said. "I know these people. "If they are full completely except for one room they will complain."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Direct talks: 'nothing lost but little gained'

    By Jean Christou

    THE GREEK Cypriot side has not lost anything during six months of direct talks with the Turkish Cypriot side but little has been gained either, Attorney General Alecos Markides said yesterday in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

    Markides, who is a member of the negotiating team, was speaking four days before the resumption of direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which began on January 16.

    "We continue the search for a settlement on July 16 and may have a two-week break in August. I do not think we have lost anything during these past six months that we have been negotiating," Markides said.

    Asked if the Greek Cypriot side had gained anything at the negotiating table, Markides said it was not a question of whether anything was gained or not.

    "We are getting nearer to European Union accession," he said.

    "We want to solve the Cyprus question in time for EU membership and this is why we are flexible, we negotiate in good faith, we are serious and responsible and if the problem is not resolved, it is obvious who bears the responsibility and therefore accession will not be affected if there is no settlement," he said.

    Markides said that the Greek Cypriot side was not satisfied that the issue of territory and property were properly discussed at the talks and that despite repeated discussions on the powers of the executive and on security, they did not lead anywhere.

    "We believe there is a very real possibility that in the next two or three months, the UN will submit a detailed plan for a solution," but which will probably not be on a 'take it or leave it' solutions, he added. "There is an effort to continue the talks and towards that, in order to serve this objective, many times people do not call a spade a spade for fear of seeing Denktash walking away from the table."

    Commenting on the situation in Turkey, Markides said the collapse of the Ecevit government would not constitute a step backwards in the Cyprus peace effort since Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit's policies on Cyprus were "totally intransigent."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] 'Cool down' centre in Nicosia

    NICOSIA MUNICIPALITY announced yesterday that as of Monday they would be opening a 'cool down' centre. The centre will be open all days of the week from eight in the morning until six in the evening and will be situated at the former municipal elderly home near Famagusta gate.

    Specialised personnel will staff the centre during working hours. Back-up generators will support the centre's air-conditioning system in case of power cuts. The 'cool down' centre is an escape for anyone vulnerable to heat such as elderly citizens and people with illnesses even if power cuts stop electricity at their homes.

    The first 'cool down' centre was opened in July 2000 due to a number of deaths caused by the heat wave. In that year four people died and 33 were admitted to hospital with heat stroke. The 'cool down' centre is not just for the heat of the summer, it will also be used as a warm place in winter for the elderly and infirmed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Ex-boyfriend allegedly stole over £50,000

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    VIAJESLAV KOUTAVERTIEV, 35, from Russia, was arrested on suspicion of obtaining over £50,000 under false pretences and remanded in custody for eight days by Limassol District Court on Thursday. He is also under investigation for charges of theft, forgery and the circulation of forged documents.

    The suspect was arrested after Veronika Kalasnikova, Russian owner of an offshore company in Limassol, reported to police that 10 cheques were stolen from her chequebook between June 2001 and April 2002. Suspecting the 35-year-old, with whom she had had a previous relationship with, of forging the cheques and cashing £50,501 from her bank account, she reported the missing money to the police.

    Koutavertiev allegedly admitted to the crime, claiming he stole the money to pay off unknown blackmailers from Russia in connection with a bereaved relative. The suspect allegedly told the police he gave all the money to his blackmailers.

    A Cypriot was arrested on suspicion of cashing in the cheques but was released soon after when it came to light that he was unaware of any criminal activity.

    Investigator Lefteris Eleftheriou told the court that efforts to trace the money had begun and that the police were in contact with Interpol for further information on the suspect and his allegations.

    During a search of his flat, the police discovered an air pistol in the possession of Koutavertiev's Russian girlfriend. The 26-year-old woman claimed in her statement the pistol belonged to her father who is absent from the country.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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