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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Thursday, September 5, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Unused coffins dumped near the aerials in SBA
  • [02] Clerides: no documents expected from Annan in Paris
  • [03] Minister extends deadline in bank dispute
  • [04] Champions League tickets will be available for 20
  • [05] Papadopoulos: you can't co-operate with those you want to change
  • [06] Road tax readjustment on course for January
  • [07] Shipping safety record improving
  • [08] Cyprus Rally facing competition from Turkey
  • [09] Youth held over army weapon theft

  • [01] Unused coffins dumped near the aerials in SBA

    By George Psyllides

    DOZENS of unused coffins were dumped in an open space near the British antennas in Sovereign Base Area (SBA) territory in Akrotiri near Limassol, it was reported yesterday.

    The coffins came in two sizes - children's and adults' - and were accompanied with papers from the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), which were reportedly dated during the Gulf War in 1991.

    The macabre sight was aired on television last night by Sigma.

    The report showed dozens of coffins of different sizes stacked near the antenna site at the Acrotiri salt lake.

    DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis who went on the scene suggested the coffins had been sent by the MoD for the losses British troops could have suffered during the conflict.

    "Of course they are for the Gulf War; they are always prepared and have a large number of coffins," Matsakis said.

    He added: "It is clear that they belong to the MoD. There's no doubt -- it's written on their documents."

    Matsakis said the coffins were probably being replaced due to wear and tear in light of the imminent strike on Iraq.

    "They are replacing their material for the expected attack; they are throwing away the old coffins and have brought new ones," Matsakis said.

    Matsakis even linked the coffins to the installation of the new aerial in the area.

    "It's a bad omen for what potentially awaits Limassol residents; I hope we do not have an increase in leukaemia and brain tumour incidents among the children of Limassol. I hope this does not happen."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Clerides: no documents expected from Annan in Paris

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides said yesterday that UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan would not be submitting any documents at the meeting he would host in Paris tomorrow with the two leaders.

    Speaking to journalists at Larnaca Airport prior to his departure for Paris, Clerides said: "I exclude the possibility of having any documents submitted. It has been made clear that the Secretary-general will not submit any documents but will listen to both sides," Clerides said. "We were not given any hint that the Secretary-general would make any suggestions regarding the different positions. From what we've been told, the Secretary-general wants to listen to the two sides, identify the differences and make his own assessments."

    Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who have been engaged in direct talks since mid-January, are due to meet Annan in Paris tomorrow to assess their positions on the Cyprus issue and attempt to find a way forward in the stalled negotiations.

    Earlier yesterday, Clerides met US State Department Special Co-ordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston in Nicosia. No statements were made after the meeting. Later, Weston crossed to the north to meet Denktash. The US envoy will leave the island this morning.

    Asked by journalists whether Weston had elaborated on statements he made in Athens on Tuesday referring to "new alternatives and options", which the UN must consider on Cyprus, Clerides said the US envoy had not mentioned either.

    "Weston stressed the need for the talks to carry on, but did not make any suggestion about how to bridge the differences," Clerides said. "No plan has been put forward to us for an alternative solution to the core issues."

    Tomorrow, Annan will hold separate meetings with the two leaders after which all three will meet together in the presence of the UN Secretary- general's Special Advisor for Cyprus, Alvaro De Soto.

    Clerides is being accompanied to Paris by Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros and will be joined there today by Attorney-general Alecos Markides and Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Minister extends deadline in bank dispute

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    LABOUR Minister Andreas Moushiouttas yesterday agreed to extend the deadline for a resolution of the ongoing bank dispute that had been set for yesterday, after a request by Director General of the Bank Employers Association (BEA), Christos Taliadoros.

    Taliadoros said that a meeting with Moushiouttas would take place today to clarify certain issues and discuss the problems with the mediating proposal handed out by the minister last week to salvage negotiations.

    Taliadoros refused to comment on the points contested by the BEA or the length of the extension, saying, "It would not be fair to make public the details of our concern over these issues."

    Meanwhile, the bank employees union, ETYK, had earlier approved the new proposal in a meeting of the General Assembly with 94 per cent in favour. The union released statements yesterday placing full blame on the bank employers for any consequences of a rejection of the proposal by BEA.

    ETYK alleged the BEA's sore point was over the issue of retirement bonuses because, they claimed, the employers had over-calculated the cost of an increase in bonuses by 12 times. The actual increase in cost would amount to 1.75 per cent only, said the union.

    The proposal was released by Moushiouttas last week, setting the deadline for agreement for yesterday with the condition that it was non-negotiable. If the bank employers reject the proposal, negotiations will reach a deadlock again.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Champions League tickets will be available for 20

    By Soteris Charalambous

    TICKETS for the highly anticipated Champions League game between Manchester United and Maccabi Haifa at the GSP stadium in Nicosia on October 29 will be priced between 16 and 20 with at least 5,000 made available to Cypriots, it was announced yesterday.

    In March, UEFA, European football's governing body, ruled that home games involving the Israeli national team and the country's clubs in European competitions could not be played in Israel.

    Following their qualification for the group stages, a first for an Israeli team, club officials lobbied UEFA to reconsider their ruling. But after last-ditch efforts on Tuesday to convince UEFA to switch the high profile tie with Manchester United back to Haifa failed, Phivos Constantinides, Head of the GSP stadium, flew out to Israel yesterday to meet with Haifa officials and settle on ticket prices for the fixture.

    "We have agreed that ticket prices will range between 16 and 20, with around 5,000 being made available to the local public," said Constantinides. He added that priority would be given to applications for group tickets covering all three of the Israeli team's 'home' ties.

    After the number required by UEFA for delegates and sponsors of the competition, allocations for the 25,000-seater capacity stadium make 10,000 tickets available to Haifa supporters, with around 2,000 allotted to Manchester United's travelling fans. The Israeli club is hoping to overcome transport difficulties in order get more of its fans over for the ties and will hold back a number of tickets. However those that remain unsold may too be made available locally. "I'm expecting a packed house for at least two of the games (Manchester United and Olympiakos), the interest has been exceptionally high," said Constantinides.

    Further information on tickets and kick off times for the Champions League matches will be available from Monday by e-mail on or by telephone on 22- 874070.

    Greek Champions Olympiakos will be the visitors on September 24, followed by last year's beaten finalists Bayer Leverkusen on October 1.

    Ronis Soteriades President of the Manchester United Supporters Club in Cyprus has been inundated with calls from people hoping to get tickets for the game.

    "It's been amazing, people who I believed were not even interested in football have been calling my about getting tickets," said Soteriades, "I've even had calls from England and from travel agents with clients who are keen to come to Cyprus just to see the game."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Papadopoulos: you can't co-operate with those you want to change

    By George Psyllides

    DIKO Chairman and presidential candidate Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday reiterated that DIKO and AKEL could not co-operate with the current administration if change was to be brought about in the country.

    Speaking at a news conference, Papadopoulos said he was sure that the programme drafted by the two opposition parties would bring change and modernisation to the country, but ruled out any co-operation with ruling DISY or the candidate they could be backing because co-operation was impossible with "those you want to change".

    Papadopoulos said the period from now until the end of the year was the most critical for the island, as the uncertainty concerning talks to solve the Cyprus problem continued while Turkey's threats over Cyprus' accession to the EU lingered.

    The DIKO Chairman added that the future of this and later generations would be determined by the decisions made by the National Council, as well as the handling of issues in conjunction with the Greek government.

    The main goals that need to be addressed during this time were the solution of the Cyprus problem and EU accession, Papadopoulos said.

    Concerning tomorrow's meeting in Paris between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Papadopoulos said information was sketchy, but it was expected that the UN Secretary-general would try and convince the two sides to accept the organisation's active participation in the talks in the form of submitting proposals or ideas.

    Papadopoulos said it would be a challenge to secure EU accession without conditions, and to fulfil Europe's demands after that, as well as utilising the potentials the EU has to offer to the Cypriot people.

    He said there were three challenges facing the island after accession: the country's safe course, core participation in the European family from the onset, and the immediate improvement of daily life.

    "The answer to these challenges demands a stable administration," Papadopoulos said.

    He added: "An administration based on a clear principle framework and a specific programme; on co-operations, which secure a parliamentary majority, a common course, stability and certainty for the future of Cyprus."

    He said the answer to these challenges required clear solutions, specific actions, experience, boldness and strength, but above all a change in policy and a change in the current administration.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Road tax readjustment on course for January

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THE LONG-awaited reduction in road tax charges for diesel vehicles is planed to come into force at the beginning of next year, but only if changes are approved by the Finance Ministry and Parliament before the end of September, according to Thasos Kyriakides, Director of the Road Transport Department.

    In accordance with the EU harmonisation package, Commerce and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis announced that subsidies for diesel would be abolished, leading to increases in the price of diesel fuel. The price of diesel may have risen by up to 70 per cent by January 2003 from last year's subsidised prices.

    To appease diesel vehicle drivers, road tax is set to be reduced by 10 per cent. However, the proposal has yet to be finalised and needs to be approved by the Finance Ministry before it can be put before parliament.

    "In addition to the reduction in road tax charges for diesel vehicle owners, changes will be made to the charging system for all vehicles," said Kyriakides. Engine capacity will replace weight of car as the barometer for levying the road tax charge.

    "We are hoping to finalise the proposal within the next one to two weeks," said Kyriakides, "But if the final decision is not made (by the Finance Ministry and Parliament) by September, we will be unable to implement the changes in time for January 2003 given the amount of work that needs to be done after approval."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Shipping safety record improving

    By Jean Christou

    Cyprus has almost slipped off the 'black list' of ship detentions under the Paris Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) on Port State Control, the Communications and Works Ministry said yesterday.

    An announcement by the Ministry, detailing an increase in the number of Cypriot inspectors at foreign ports, said that the Cypriot open registry, often branded a Flag of Convenience (FoC), was fast approaching the 'grey list'. The Paris MOU, an agreement between 19 countries, aims at eliminating the operation of sub-standard ships through a harmonised system of port state control. Geographically, it covers the waters of the European coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe and carries out thousands of ship inspections each year to ensure that ships meet international safety and environmental standards, and that crew members have adequate living and working conditions.

    According to its latest report, Cyprus is now fourth from the bottom on the black list, with a "medium-risk" rating compared to 15 countries, topped by Albania, which are in the "very high risk" category. Other medium-risk countries are Malta, Panama and India.

    Some 4,100 Cypriot ships were inspected in foreign ports between 1999 and 2001, and 397 were detained. The black-to-grey list limit for Cyprus would have been 319 detentions.

    According to the statement by the Ministry yesterday, the government has now increased the number of Cypriot inspectors abroad to 32 in 23 ports in 13 countries. It aims further to increase inspectors until 40 ports are covered.

    "The government has adopted a series of measures which have proved successful by changing the image of the Cyprus flag," the announcement said. 'The main aim is to increase inspections and checks on Cypriot vessels to limit the time they are held in foreign ports as well as to reduce the number of accidents."

    Last year, Cypriot inspectors checked 560 Cyprus-flagged ships abroad, of which 353, or 63 per cent, did not have any problems. From 207 that did show a problem, only two showed a significant problem. In 1996, Cypriot inspectors abroad checked only 52 vessels due to a shortage of inspectors abroad.

    "The important increase in the number of inspections is the reason why there has been a substantial decrease in Cypriot-flagged ships detained in foreign ports, and Cyprus is very close to being struck off the black list of the Paris MOU," the Ministry said.

    If Cyprus makes it to the grey list, it will be categorised with countries such as Kuwait, Portugal, Iran, Italy, Spain and the US, which frequently targets Cypriot ships because of the island's reputation as an FOC.

    Top of the Paris MOU's 'white list' is the UK, which has the best detention record. It is followed by Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Greece also makes the white list.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Cyprus Rally facing competition from Turkey

    By George Psyllides

    CYPRUS will exert every effort to keep the island's international rally in the World Rally Championship (WRC), Trade Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    Doubts about the Cyprus Rally arose after Turkey applied for the organisation of the regional rally, one of the 14 held worldwide.

    Cyprus assumed the organisation of the rally three years ago.

    WRC authorities are set to make a decision on the matter on October 1 and if they decide to move the rally to Turkey Cyprus would be losing around 12 million in tourist income.

    "We would have to increase the financial contribution towards the rally with additional advertising and the matter would be tabled before the cabinet this coming week," Rolandis said.

    He added: "We've had the rally for three years now and we would do everything we can to keep it."

    Rolandis said the matter was being discussed with WRC authorities but struck a pessimistic note adding: "naturally there are the interests of the big car makers".

    "It looks like some additional efforts are needed and some additional funds for advertising, Rolandis said.

    The minister said the cost would be quite substantial and the benefits vis- a-vis cost would be assessed. He added that the rally was a very important event for the country.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Youth held over army weapon theft

    A 19-YEAR-old Limassol man was yesterday remanded in custody for six days in connection with the theft of three army issue rifle magazines and 106 packets of cigarettes.

    Police said they allegedly found the empty magazines at his home, after they had been tipped off that the 19-year-old had been involved in the burglary of a kiosk.

    The court heard that the man admitted to police he had stolen the magazines from the army camp at which he was doing his military service last July.

    Police said they raided the 19-year-old's home at 3am yesterday and found him along with four youths, aged between 13 and 15, in possession of 106 packets of cigarettes and 33 in cash.

    The boys allegedly told police they had stolen the cigarettes from a kiosk on Paphos Street that they had burgled earlier yesterday.

    Four of the youths also admitted stealing various drinks from kiosks in at least three cases last August, police said.

    The court was told that police searched the 19-year-old's bedroom and allegedly found three empty army issue assault rifle magazines.

    He was arrested and later remanded in custody for six days while the pupils were released to be charged later.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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