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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-07-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, July 19, 2002


  • [01] Talks called off as Denktash gets food poisoning
  • [02] AKEL: we wouldn't co-operate with DISY even if they proposed Christofias
  • [03] Government calls for investors in Larnaca port
  • [04] Belt up on the bus
  • [05] New special needs school to be built
  • [06] 'Fake students' in door-to-door collections
  • [07] Taxpayer fronts bill for interview that never aired

  • [01] Talks called off as Denktash gets food poisoning

    YESTERDAY'S meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, was cancelled at the request of the Turkish Cypriot side after the Turkish Cypriot leader fell ill.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the Greek Cypriot side had been informed that Denktash was ill, but he had no details. Turkish Cypriot press reports said Denktash was suffering from food poisoning.

    Papapetrou ruled out the possibility that Denktash's sickness was a manoeuvre to avoid outlining his positions on the territorial issue, and said that the next meeting between the leaders of the two communities would take place on Tuesday morning.

    The Spokesman wished the Turkish Cypriot leader a swift recovery.

    Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in settlement talks since January this year, but little progress has been achieved. They began the fifth round of the talks on Tuesday.

    Commenting on statements by outgoing US ambassador Donald Bandler on Wednesday that hard choices would have to be made in any proposed settlement, Papapetrou said that this was "quite natural".

    "Bandler represents a country that tries to mediate so that the dialogue will bear fruit, and does not condemn either side," he said. "If this effort fails and the moment comes to attribute responsibility, then the vagueness in what is said will annoy me."

    Asked to comment on the fact that the Security Council had diplomatically pointed its finger at the Turkish Cypriot side as the one responsible for the deadlock, Papapetrou said: "The Security Council is not made up of little men from Mars, and the US, as a member of the Council, contributed to that decision."

    Papapetrou said that concessions would have to be made by both sides but that so far most of the concessions had been made by the Greek Cypriot side.

    "The Turkish Cypriot side must also make substantive concessions to pave the way for a solution of the Cyprus problem," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] AKEL: we wouldn't co-operate with DISY even if they proposed Christofias

    By George Psyllides

    KISOS Chairman Yiannakis Omirou yesterday said there was no room for dialogue with AKEL and DIKO over DISY's proposal for a national unity government, as both parties had already made their decisions.

    On Tuesday, DISY Chairman Nicos Anastassiades took the three-party coalition, AKEL DIKO and KISOS by surprise, proposing a national unity government to be led by Omirou.

    AKEL and DIKO rejected the proposal immediately, though KISOS said it would make its final decision on Sunday.

    Yesterday, Omirou said he would have expected the coalition to discuss the proposal before AKEL and DIKO rejected it, since it concerned one of the three mooted candidates for the 2003 presidential elections.

    Omirou said KISOS would study the proposal, since the movement's fixed policy was the creation of a government of wide approval.

    He did, however, reject the possibility of entering a bilateral co- operation with DISY, stressing that DISY's proposal spoke of a government of wide approval.

    AKEL Chairman Demetris Christofias yesterday described Anastassiades' proposal as a "debasement of political life and democracy," adding that, "you cannot go round offering power to anyone at all costs".

    Christofias said this was the same proposal tabled by DISY for the fourth presidential election in a row.

    He added: "Since 1988, 93, 98, and today, DISY has been tabling before the other parties the national unity issue because the country was in danger."

    DISY has won the past two elections.

    "For AKEL, it is self-evident that there is a political game at hand with the use of trickery," Christofias said.

    AKEL Spokesman Nicos Katsourides yesterday explained why his party had rejected Anastassiades' proposal, noting that AKEL would not have co- operated with DISY even if they had proposed Christofias as candidate.

    "DISY's position for the creation of a national unity government is insincere and unreliable," Katsourides said.

    "It is looked upon as a tactical move and is the product of the dead ends facing the conservative right-wing party," he added.

    Katsourides accused DISY of attempting to exploit the people's desire for unity on the domestic front by citing the difficulties and critical situations that the island could face concerning the Cyprus problem and the EU accession course.

    "Most of the times it was those ruling that hurt the unity of our domestic front," Katsourides said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Government calls for investors in Larnaca port

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday announced invitations to tender for the redevelopment of Larnaca port.

    In a statement, the Communications and Works Ministry said that it was initiating a tenders process for the award of a concession contract to a suitable bidder or consortium.

    The redevelopment of the port would be carried out under a long-term Design- Build-Operate contract.

    It is the government's intention to redevelop the existing port by transforming it into a major cruise destination. Currently, the port is on its last legs as a container transshipment point, since Limassol has the lion's share of cargo business to and from Cyprus.

    The redevelopment is likely to include the reconfiguration of the existing port infrastructure to include a larger turning circle and realignment of the quays, and the development of the extensive land that is within the port's perimeter.

    The contractor will be expected to undertake the port and real estate development, to manage it and to undertake the passenger and commercial port operations.

    The government was aiming to attract bidders with "innovative redevelopment concepts and approaches", the announcement said.

    The deadline for the bids is 9am on November 29, 2002.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Belt up on the bus

    THE TRANSPORT Department plans to make the use of seat belts compulsory on large and small buses by 2003, according to yesterday's Alithia.

    The new legislation comes amidst increasing safety awareness for large and small buses across Europe.

    Britain has already implemented a law on seat belts on buses while a proposal from the EU on new legislation is in the process of being finalised, the report said.

    Safety concerns for passengers on buses, especially minibuses that carry children have heightened after a spate of accidents involving small buses.

    In January 2000, a minibus crash at Moniatis left eight people dead, including a two-year-old boy.

    The report highlighted a case in Greece last week where children wearing seatbelts in a minibus escaped from harm when the bus overturned.

    Transport official, Sotiris Kolettas, referring to buses that are manufactured without seatbelts, was quoted as saying legislation regarding the use of seatbelts was complicated and required close inspection of technical detail

    Kolettas said tourist bus licences were presently issued only on the provision that they were installed with safety belts first.

    The draft legislation is expected to be ready by next year, and will then be passed on to the Cabinet and parliament for final approval.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] New special needs school to be built

    THE Education Ministry yesterday signed a contract to erect a new Special Needs School building in Nicosia.

    At present, Nicosia's current Special Needs School hosts 67 children between the ages of five and 18 and is located at the University of Cyprus.

    The pupils display severe emotional disturbances, behavioural problems, autism or autistic characteristics, mental retardation, Down's syndrome, mobility problems and other disabilities to such a degree that do not allow them to join a mainstream education system.

    But the existing school building has presented a number of weakness and problems in hosting children with such severe emotional problems. In light of this, the Cabinet approved the erection of a new building.

    The new construction will be built in Kathari Aglandja in Nicosia, next to Aglandja primary school. According to the law, all new special needs schools will now operate alongside regular schools and the former's educational policy will entail constant contact with the latter as well as organising common activities between the two schools' pupils.

    The new school will consist of 12 classrooms, computer rooms, speech therapy rooms, psychologists, home economics, a dining room, a doctor's office, a gym room, a physiotherapy department as well as common areas and management offices with elevator access.

    The project will cost 879,945 and is to be undertaken by A.K.I. Constructions Ltd.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] 'Fake students' in door-to-door collections

    By Alexia Saoulli

    A GROUP of travelling salesmen, posing as students, are going from door to door selling their wares under the guise of collecting money for their "destitute" fellow students, a University of Cyprus student union representative said yesterday.

    But the University's students' union has not authorised such a collection, nor is the money accumulated going towards a "destitute students fund," the union's Charalambos Stavrides told the Cyprus Mail.

    The scam came to light last week, when several students brought up the matter at a student council meeting.

    "We were in the middle of a meeting, when a few of the students happened to mention that they had heard a collection was being carried out on behalf of the University. They had not thought anything was amiss, since the supposed students were young themselves. In fact, it was purely coincidental that we found out about it," said Stavrides.

    The operation carried out by the apparent impostors is simple: they go from door to door introducing themselves as students and try to sell small booklets and magazines, or simply ask for donations, in order to collect money for their fellow impoverished students.

    But the money collected does not go towards any student collection fund, Stavrides said. "This is completely false and misleading. Although we do organise collections at various points throughout the year, we never carry them out during the summer.

    "We believe that a private company is behind this scam, but we do not know which one yet," said Stavrides. "Very often, you see adverts in magazines and newspapers that are looking for students to work part-time as travelling salespeople. These students are either at college locally or have come back for the summer from abroad and want to make a little extra pocket money. The problem is there are 30 or 40 of these adverts every week, so we have not, so far, been able to find out which one is responsible for the scam."

    The reason the Union believes a company must be behind the scam, rather than a group of independent students, is because it appears to be a very organised enterprise.

    "In just one week, we found out that the entire area surrounding the University had been covered by these supposed University of Cyprus students. Therefore, I do not think that this scam involves a mere two or three people. We are talking about a very large group here, of possibly 20 individuals. That is too great a figure to organise independently."

    As far as Stavrides knows, the collection is only being carried out in Nicosia and has being going for at least two or three weeks.

    "However, I wouldn't know if it was being pulled off in other districts because there would be no easy way of finding out, unless someone mentions it to us," he said. To make matters worse, the salespeople could be extracting extortionate amounts of money from innocent people, who only want to help out poor students.

    "It's very worrying and tragic that someone would actually abuse students in this way. How could anyone pose as a student, collecting money for a good cause, and then simply reap the profits? It's a disgrace. As for how much is being collected I couldn't even say because they 'accept' donations, as well as sell little books and magazines that contain, for example, advice on life or psychology material. Therefore it's up to the victim how much he or she will donate. We have no way of knowing a figure."

    Te fraudsters apparently carry with them a 'document' claiming they are University approved. Stavrides explained that a charity collection was only legal if accompanied by a written approval from the University Authority or the Student Union Governing Council.

    "Although this is not an official, approved document, innocent people cannot know that. How could they? They find themselves opening the door to a 20-year-old, in possession of what looks like a genuine document, asking for money to go towards a student fund. Wouldn't you believe it?"

    The Union does not intend to take this lying down, however.

    "We are waiting for more information on the matter and then plan to report the scam to the police, because this must stopped and the company exposed. Publicising the matter is only the first step in getting to the bottom of this sordid affair."

    Anyone with any information should contact the police, Education Ministry or the University's student union, Stavrides said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Taxpayer fronts bill for interview that never aired

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A MUCH-sought after interview with James Schlessinger, the US Defence Secretary in 1974, failed to hit our TV screens last night due to internal bickering at CyBC.

    Journalist and TV presenter, Ioannis Karekla, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday he had been chasing the interview for eight months, only to discover it would not be shown, as initially planned, to coincide with the "black anniversaries" of the military coup and Turkish invasion.

    The reporter was in the US to interview Arthur Hartman, Henry Kissinger's right hand man. He left without securing an interview with Schlessinger. Some time later, the opportunity arose to meet with the former defence secretary and Karekla flew back to Washington without a crew to carry out the interview.

    The reason for dropping such a high-profile interview, according to Karekla, was that producers charged him with bypassing regulations governing TV programme interviews. He said the union had passed the rule on July 5 that all interviews had to be performed by a crew of two, comprising of presenter and producer/director.

    He said he had informed his producer Savvas Aristodemou and the Head of the TV Department Michalis Tofaridis a week before he left that the interview was most likely to happen but could not get confirmation from Schlessinger. The interview finally took place on July 8 in Washington.

    Aristodemou said the reason the interview had not been aired had nothing to do with the regulation regarding interviews, which he claimed had been in existence for years. He said the problem was that Kareklas had misled Aristodemou, the union and the acting head of CyBC, Michalis Stylianou. He charged Karekla with knowing well in advance that the interview was going to take place but delaying its announcement and leaving the country without getting the required permission.

    The internal dispute between the two led to the interview being taken off the CyBC programme schedule yesterday, leaving the public without the chance to view Schlessinger's comments on the coup and invasion.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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