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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-07-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, July 16, 2002


  • [01] Sex in Cyprus: looking for the facts
  • [02] Double murder suspect remanded for eight days
  • [03] Talks to resume amid Turkish uncertainty
  • [04] Counting the donkeys
  • [05] Letter to the Editor

  • [01] Sex in Cyprus: looking for the facts

    By Alexia Saoulli

    A COMPREHENSIVE national study aimed at collecting data on sexual attitudes in Cyprus is expected to be carried out in the near future, a senior programme officer at the Family Planning Association said yesterday.

    No such statistics are currently available on the island. "We do not know if people are for or against abortion, how many unwanted pregnancies there are or how many terminations are carried out each year - let alone underage terminations - whether or not people are becoming more promiscuous, what percentage of the population suffers from a sexually transmitted disease (STD), whether protection is something Cypriots frequently use," Despo Hadjiloizou, 52, told the Cyprus Mail.

    Knowing the answers to such questions would give the Family Planning Association a clearer picture of the current sexual situation on the island, including trends, changes and attitudes. The association would then be better equipped to address possible concerns or problems.

    "There are no statistics in Cyprus on anything related to sexual habits. If a doctor tells you he or she knows how many underage abortions are carried out a year for instance, it's an entirely empirical figure and not based on any research. One doctor might give you a much larger figure than another, depending how many he or she has carried out over the past year," Hadjiloizou explained.

    The family planning official blamed peoples' mentalities for the lack of information. "It's really hard to collect data on someone's sex life. Most people don't talk about things like that openly, let alone answer a questionnaire specifically designed for that purpose.

    "Cyprus is a small island and people are afraid in case people find things out."

    She stressed such a study would be entirely confidential.

    "It would be beneficial to know how many people have had, or have, an STD other than AIDS for example. With that in mind we could look at whether they are more predominant in rural or urban areas, or if age, or a person's sex, makes a difference," said Hadjiloizou. For all we know, she added (though she doubted it), Cyprus could have unwanted pregnancy rates as high as those in the UK.

    But this lack of data might soon be a thing of the past as attitudes are changing, she said.

    "I have been teaching sex education for years and have noticed a number of changes. Ten years ago, I would never have been able to show school children a condom. Now, I show them to all the older kids. One day, I believe we will actually start handing them out."

    The 52-year-old added that although Cyprus was pretty liberal in most respects, its abortion law was restrictive.

    "Legally, you are only allowed to have an abortion if either the mother's life is in danger - whereby she needs the signed permission of two doctors' - or if the embryo is not well and is, for example, suffering from say Down's Syndrome or thalassaemia."

    Although this law is not strictly enforced, it was passed in 1974 and has not been changed since.

    "Of course women have abortions for lots of other reasons, but they can only do so privately because hospitals strictly abide by the law," she said, adding that although the law did not specify a pregnancy limit, most had abortions eight weeks into their pregnancy.

    No one has gone to jail for having an abortion that is technically illegal. Most doctors - 98 out of 100 - are willing to perform the 20 to 30 minute procedure for an estimated fee of 200, she said.

    "But this is a surgical abortion," said Hadjiloizou, pointing out it was different to a medical abortion (the abortion pill known as RU486).

    "I do not think we will introduce RU486 here. Even though it is a method that has been around for a good decade, it has not been adopted by a lot of European countries and our existing abortion law will not allow for it."

    Hadjiloizou said it was the Family Planning Association's policy to advise couples on contraception and prevention methods.

    "Saying this, however, we do offer pre and post abortion counselling. In fact counselling is something the association is strongly in favour of, as deciding to have an abortion can be an extremely difficult ordeal for any woman to have to go through," said Hadjiloizou.

    "It's all very hush-hush when you have an abortion, and I don't just mean in Cyprus. A woman needs support and guidance before and after her decision, because she may find herself regretting it in 10 years time, even though at the time it was the right decision - for her - to make."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Double murder suspect remanded for eight days

    THE MAN arrested on suspicion of double homicide in Paphos was remanded in custody for eight days by Paphos District Court on Sunday in a closed-door session.

    Draconian police measures were taken to escort Charalambos Afxentiou, 56, to court, as members of the victims' family gathered outside, waiting for the suspect to appear.

    Andreas Charalambous Skyllouriotis, 60, and his 38-year-old son Charalambos were shot at point blank range outside their home at Mouttalos in Paphos around 11.20am on Saturday. The killing took place in front of Charalambos' 11-year-old son.

    Police say the father and son were shot by their neighbour in a parking space row.

    Charalambos would reportedly park his car in a spot that Afxentiou did not approve of. In an effort to prevent him from doing so, Afxentiou allegedly placed a pile of stones on the parking space. When the son moved the stones to park his car, Afxentiou allegedly took out his hunting rifle, crossed the street and shot both father and son. Andreas Skyllouriotis' brother-in- law was also slightly injured in the incident and taken to Paphos General Hospital for treatment.

    Afxentiou is understood to have confessed to the crime in court.

    State pathologist Eleni Antoniou said yesterday the son had been shot first, once in the chest, while the father took three shots. Both died instantly.

    Friends and relatives of the victims were joined at the funeral yesterday by shocked and angry Mouttalos residents. Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas also expressed his condolences and the government's readiness to help the family overcome this tragic event.

    According to reports, police have asked Interpol to investigate the suspect's movements while he was in London, where he spent some time in the past.

    Charalambos Skyllouriotis leaves behind a wife and six young children.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Talks to resume amid Turkish uncertainty

    THE FIFTH round of direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash begins today, and political crisis in Turkey and speculation that the UN will submit written proposals to both sides.

    UN special envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who returned to the island on Sunday, yesterday met Clerides prior to today's talks and was scheduled to meet Denktash later in the afternoon in occupied Nicosia. Speaking after the meeting with Clerides, De Soto told journalists he hoped the two leaders would make progress.

    "There is a lot of work to be done," he said. "We will be working during the summer."

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday that the government would not be negative towards any suggestions or proposals put forward by the UN, as long as they were within the parameters of UN resolutions on Cyprus.

    "It is the right of the Greek Cypriot side to pursue and struggle and demand and request that these proposals to be submitted be within the framework of UN decisions," he said.

    Papapetrou added the government had no information about the plans or proposals to be submitted by the UN.

    But House President Demetris Christofias said the UN Secretary-general was widely expected to table a plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem during the new round of talks.

    "The Greek Cypriot side continues to strive for an honourable compromise with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, remaining steadfast in its constructive position and honouring its commitment for a solution providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation," he said.

    But he added that if this fresh effort for a settlement did not produce results, the Secretary-general would be entitled to recommend that the Security Council allocate responsibilities and name the side responsible for the deadlock.

    "Otherwise Denktash and Ankara will be allowed to let time pass by without any cost for the intransigence they are showing," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Counting the donkeys

    By Jean Christou

    THE FRIENDS of the Cyprus Donkey have completed a census of working animals throughout the Republic, revealing that there are almost 2,200 donkeys working or retired on the island.

    The census, which was devised by the organisation and its Veterinary adviser Dr Athos Savvides, was carried out by means of forms distributed to all villages.

    It asked every mukhtar to state the number of donkeys, their age, whether or not they were still working and the names and telephone numbers of their owners. The final total was reached on June 10.

    The project was helped by a grant from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

    "The census has enabled us to assess the nature of veterinary and health- care services, which will be needed in the future," said Friends of the Donkey Administrator Mary Skinner.

    "Since we started a visiting welfare service in 2001 - the Outreach Programme - we have visited more than 20 villages and inspected and treated more than 350 working animals."

    Skinner said the programme was essential because of the decline in the number of animals and the almost complete disappearance of basic services such as the vital care of feet and teeth.

    Of he 2,175 animals counted, approximately 1,800 are estimated to be working in villages. A further 300 are working at tourist sites providing 'safari' and riding facilities, while 170 are in sanctuaries for unwanted or retired animals.

    "The trend is clear," Skinner said. "Tourist activities - the use of working donkeys for purely commercial purposes - whether in seaside or rural locations are on the increase and the use of donkeys for agricultural and other rural purposes is declining quickly."

    The highest number of donkeys was recorded in the Paphos district, with 897, followed by the Limassol district with 745 and Nicosia with 225. Larnaca and Famagusta areas have only around 150 donkeys each. The highest number of donkeys in any one village was at Pachna village above, which has 156 donkeys.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Letter to the Editor

    Setting the record straight


    In the Tales from the Coffeeshop published in the Sunday Mail on July 14, you claim that: "(Andreas) Karageorgis and his wife took a holiday in gay Paris and did not have to pay for accommodation as they stayed at the ambassadorial residence."

    I will ignore the tone and potential aims of the publication, but I will have you know that during my six-day stay in France I stayed at hotels: specifically at Le Belmont, 30 Rue Bassano, on July 4 and 5, at the Hostellerie du Coq Hardi at Verdun on July 6, and at the Hotel D'Angleterre Etoile, 21 Rue Copernic, on July 7,8, and 9.

    We stayed at the ambassador's residence for around four hours on the dawn of July 3 to 4, after the room we had reserved was given away because we had arrived late from Liverpool due to chaos created by strikes of airport staff.

    Fortunately for me, I have the receipts from the hotels of payments I made in cash or with my personal credit card. I am attaching copies of the payments I made with a request that you set the record straight.

    Needless to say, you could have had a confirmation or a denial of your information if you had simply contacted me before you went ahead with an allegation that exposes and degrades anyone, regardless of their position. unless of course that was the ultimate aim of your informant or of the writer.

    Andreas Karageorgis, president of the Public Service Commission

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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