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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, September 7, 2002


  • [01] Air liberalisation? Not until we get the same rights in Europe
  • [02] Violent behaviour soars among conscripts
  • [03] Banks finally approve compromise deal
  • [04] Television forces early start for France game
  • [05] Pupils return to Nemitsas school
  • [06] Winvest to fight insurance registrar's decision to revoke licence
  • [07] And now for something completely different
  • [08] Man beat up by mob at Ayia Napa pool
  • [09] Jewellers targeted in second smash and grab raid

  • [01] Air liberalisation? Not until we get the same rights in Europe

    By Jean Christou

    OPEN skies in Cyprus will not become a reality from January 1 next year unless Europe allows Cypriot airlines the same rights to fly freely within the bloc, Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou said yesterday.

    "For us, there is no change in policy but in order to dance a tango you need another person," Neophytou told the Cyprus Mail.

    The government has long been touting an open-skies policy to fall in line with Europe. Air liberalisation, which will be a requirement when Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU, was to become a reality from January 1, putting an end to the duopoly on several routes in and out of the island.

    To open the skies over Cyprus to European airlines, the government would have to dissolve existing bilateral agreements with Britain, Greece and other countries, which allow only one designated carrier along with Cyprus Airways the right to fly in and out of Cyprus.

    "Since we are not going to be members of the EU before 2003, in order to liberalise our skies we have to change the bilateral agreements we have with other countries," Neophytou said.

    However, the government has run into two snags with discussions on dissolving the agreements with Britain and Greece, the biggest and most lucrative air traffic markets for Cyprus.

    Nicosia approached Athens nearly 18 months ago to change the agreement, but so far has had no response. It is believed Athens wants to hang on to the duopoly because its ailing national carrier Olympic Airways would not be able to compete if another European airline began operating flights between Greece and Cyprus.

    As far as Britain is concerned, Neophytou said that even if the bilateral agreement was dissolved there were no new slots open at Heathrow, which Cypriot airlines could exploit. So in effect British airlines could muscle in on the island but Cypriot airlines could not expand at Heathrow.

    Neophytou said that as things stood, opening Cyprus up from January 2003 would be "catastrophic" for Cypriot airlines. He said he had asked Europe for a guarantee that if the skies over the island were opened up to European airlines from January 1, Cypriot airlines would be given reciprocal treatment in Europe. He said open skies in Cyprus were now conditional on reciprocity.

    "They asked us to liberalise air transport by January 2003. I told them two months ago we are ready to open our skies if they cold guarantee us there would be a reciprocity for Cyprus Airways and other Cypriot airlines," Neophytou said. "If say, Lufthansa can come in and fly its planes from Cyprus to Greece then Cyprus Airways and Helios should be allowed to fly from Frankfurt to Munich."

    The Minister said that when Cyprus became a full EU member, Europe would have the right to ask for full liberalisation. If the reciprocity was not granted until then, then the island would wait for accession before opening its skies. Neophytou is still waiting for an answer from Europe, he added.

    "We are asking the minimum," he said. "We want the same rights for our airlines that the foreign airlines would have if we open the skies to them. If not, it will be catastrophic for Cypriot airlines."

    The Minster's comments come as a welcome respite to the national carrier, which has long been begging the government to put off the liberalisation because it felt it could not compete fairly if it was not granted the same freedoms to fly within Europe.

    "If we are going to liberalise everything starting from January 1, then it's only obligations that we are going to have," said Cyprus Airways spokesman Tassos Angelis. "Are we going to have the same rights as Europeans will have in Cyprus? Probably not. Are we going to be able to fly London to Paris? No. But they will be in a position to fly between Nicosia and Athens. We are in favour of that provided we can have equal rights," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Violent behaviour soars among conscripts

    By Elias Hazou

    A STUDY commissioned by the University of Cyprus has found alarming statistics on insubordination and violent behaviour among conscripts and reserves in the National Guard.

    The study focused on two time periods, 1990-1997 and 1997-2000; offences in the military skyrocketed by 528 per cent in the first period, and fell by 192 per cent in the second.

    According to the findings, the majority of offenders are those enlisting with the January batch. The most common offence is insubordination, while 68 per cent of cases tried in a military court relate to failure to follow orders or desertion, going AWOL and the like. Avoiding sentry duty or not showing up at all at a guard post was also frequent, with 14.5 per cent of offenders brought up on such charges. Also, 0.3 per cent were charged on suspicion of espionage.

    One in a hundred conscripts taken to military court had physically assaulted a superior officer or other conscripts.

    The study also focused on geographical parameters, finding for example that 86 per cent of conscripts leaving their guard post hailed from cities, that soldiers from Larnaca were more prone to swearing, while 67 per cent of assault cases were perpetrated by Limassol youths.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Banks finally approve compromise deal

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE CYPRUS Bank Employers Association (BEA) yesterday finally gave its approval to the proposals set out by Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas in a bid to settle a long-running dispute between employees and the banks.

    Moushiouttas had warned the BEA on Thursday that an answer would have to be submitted by yesterday, two days after the official deadline.

    The President of the BEA, Michalis Tagaroulias, said his members took into serious consideration the current situation of the banking sector, and also Cyprus' accession course towards Europe when making their final decision.

    The cost of the outlined proposal will be significant for the banks, said Tagaroulias, but added that a compromise was necessary to bring calm back to the banking sector.

    Moushiouttas made the proposal in a bid to break the deadlock between the two sides over the renewal of the collective agreements.

    While the bank employees union, ETYK, approved the proposal earlier this week by a majority of 94 per cent, the BEA extended the deadline so as to make new calculations of the cost and get clarification of various points from the minister.

    After a final meeting midday yesterday, they announced their decision to approve the mediator's proposal.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Television forces early start for France game

    By Soteris Charalambous

    France open the defence of their European title against Cyprus with their coach, Jaques Santini, already finding himself on the losing side of a battle against the television broadcasters.

    The game had originally been scheduled to kick off at 8.30pm but will now start 90 minutes earlier after French television, TF1, requested that the game moved so as not to disrupt the scheduling of a popular reality show called Academy.

    On Thursday, the French Football Federation (FFF) insisted the original kick-off time would remain, with Santini quoted as saying, " To play at 7.00pm would deeply disrupt our day's schedule. We would have to change our meal times and face scorching heat." Despite Santini's protestations, the game was moved, a decision indicative of the power that television now wields in football.

    The Euro 2004 qualifying tie against Cyprus at Nicosia's GSP is seen by many of the players as a chance to restore their own confidence and rebuild their reputation after a disastrous Word Cup saw `Les Bleus' eliminated at the first round stage without scoring a goal.

    French captain Marcel Desailly, who turns 34 today, said yesterday, "I feel like a young boy about to sit an exam, a really important exam." He added that the new faces added to the squad needed to be, "integrated intelligently."

    Summing up the feeling in the squad, coach Santini said, "There are no little nations any more. we must not underrate anyone. This would be a big mistake. I'm expecting a very tough and close game."

    The last time France played in Nicosia they were held to a 1-1 draw by the hosts, a result that lead to their failure to make it to the 1988 finals in Germany. A mistake the French appear reluctant to make again en route to Portugal 2004. Desailly said, "They (Cyprus) have a lot of quality players, and when they played Portugal recently put them in a lot of trouble. We have to be careful and have a lot of respect."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Pupils return to Nemitsas school

    By a Staff Reporter

    PUPILS at a primary school in Limassol close to the Nemitsas foundry will attend classes as normal next week after many of them were kept at home by concerned parents this week.

    Tests carried out at the foundry showed its emissions carried no harmful substances.

    The decision to open the school was taken at a joint meeting between the school's Parent's Association and a ministerial committee looking into the matter yesterday.

    However, complaints about the bad smell that comes from the foundry have prompted the Health Ministry to order a further investigation.

    Health Minister, Frixos Savvides said experts would take necessary measurements to clinically prove that the children are in no danger.

    "The experts will conduct thorough tests in order to clarify the technical committee's complaints," Savvides said.

    But Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides warned that should the experts' findings reveal there are harmful substances, then it is the government's responsibility to take measures and deal with the issue accordingly.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Winvest to fight insurance registrar's decision to revoke licence

    By Soteris Charalambous

    INSURERS Winvest yesterday followed up their legal challenge against the Insurance Registrar's decision to revoke their licence by publicly claiming the registrar's superintendent Victoria Natar was working in the interests of larger companies after allegedly stating on Thursday that `not a single penny' had been deposited into the insurers' fund by the company.

    Winvest Director Savva Christoforou promised to give a fuller account of his allegations at a news conference arranged for next Wednesday. He maintains that Winvest, which started operating in November 2000, paid a 60,000 deposit into the insurers' fund in June and that Natar had gone back on her promise, negotiated through the company's lawyers, to grant an extension until September 15 for the company to deposit a further 400,000 required for the fund.

    Last month, Natar ordered Winvest's licence to be revoked claiming, "The company has failed to fulfil its financial obligations under the Insurance Companies Law 1984-2000. As of August 20, the company is not permitted to make any more insurance contracts or renew old ones."

    Christoforou claims he had letters of intent from backers who were willing to provide Winvest with the necessary funds, but who pulled out of the financial commitments following Natar's announcement.

    "After Natar promised the extension I managed to find investors who signed letters of intent giving us the 400,000 needed, but then, unexpectedly on August17 she made the announcement and the backers pulled out," said Christoforou.

    Furious at the decision Christoforou has demanded Natar, "Make public the trust file which lists the companies that have put money into the trust since 1999," claiming that Winvest had been singled out because it challenged other bigger companies with more competitive rates, adding, "The bigger companies are using her to close the smaller ones down."

    A source at the registrar confirmed that, "The reason Winvest's licence has been revoked was because it did not hold sufficient reserves or approved investments." The source added that, "High management expenses on wages and advertising - double the normal amount," and "premiums set too low to cover expenditure" were the reasons why the company finds itself in the position it is.

    The source said that Winvest was obliged to existing policyholders to pay any claims made, to which Christoforou replied, "How can I pay them if I'm not allowed to collect any money (from new policies or renewals)?"

    He added, "I will voluntarily go to jail if I have to. she is destroying everything I have ever had."

    Natar was unavailable for comment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] And now for something completely different

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    AN AMBITIOUS theatrical production set to take the viewer on a poetic journey on the island through the eyes of a French writer, Baptiste-Marrey, ended in confusion on Tuesday, with the Ministry of Education and Culture cancelling its second performance a day after its premiere in Cyprus.

    On the night of the performance, the audience were presented with an array of improvisations, as one actor, apparently drunk, was prevented by his colleagues from pulling his trousers down, while another, in a thought- provoking moment, cooled herself down with a bucket of water, adding a twinge of awareness to the others on the slippery stage.

    The play, For Aphrodite, Sleeping Beauty of Cyprus performed by the Erinna Theatre Company at the Rialto Theatre in Limassol's part of the Kypria Festival programme, purports to be an original production combining theatre, song, poetry and dialogue, with music composed and performed by Cypriot artist Alkinoos Ioannides.

    But the audience were unimpressed when the actors appeared to read out their scripts rather than acting them, while the musical accompaniment was pre-recorded, not live.

    An official from the Education Ministry yesterday maintained the show was not what they had expected, adding that it was the first time in 12 years of Kypria that a production had had to be cancelled. The official said that nothing in the planning and organisation for the performance had prepared them for what they witnessed.

    The show was sponsored by THOC, the Education Ministry, Greek and Cypriot embassies in France and the French embassy in Cyprus. The ministry and THOC are reportedly putting their sponsorship obligations under review after the event.

    Idea and direction for the play came from Paris-based Anastasia Politi, an acclaimed actress and director in Greece and France, who has worked on a number of projects throughout Europe.

    Yesterday, she maintained that Tuesday's performance was a work-in-progress and not the final project. Having to deal with six members of the cast walking out 15 days before the performance, she was forced to find and direct replacements in a brief period of time. Problems began when one of the cast refused to wear a costume allocated to her. Following from that, a series of doctors' notes were presented to her by other actors excusing them from rehearsals until eventually all left.

    As for the absence of Ioannides, she said delays beyond her control had made it too late to book him for the performance dates.

    Politi herself took to the stage with five stand-ins and got on with the show. "We are an experimental theatre company who want to give the chance for new ideas and young people to get on stage," she said.

    But she acknowledged that there were improvisations and surprises from actors, which had little to do with her direction.

    Politi explained that some of the actors followed the avant garde style of French theatre, which gives the initiative to the actor to make proposals to the audience, a form of improvisation.

    "Some took the initiative much further than I would have expected," said Politi. But she maintained that the actor who was allegedly drunk was well known in French theatre circles. He told Politi that his drunkenness was a way in itself of proposing to the audience through improvisation.

    The production is expected to perform another six shows at various prestigious festivals in France.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Man beat up by mob at Ayia Napa pool

    By a Staff Reporter

    A BIZARRE incident took place in the early morning hours of Thursday at an outdoor bar in Ayia Napa, where a 35-year-old was dragged out of a swimming pool by a mob and beaten up.

    The 35-year-old man from the village of Xylotymbou was partying with a friend at an outdoor bar/swimming pool in the coastal town. At one point a group of youths reportedly asked the man to get out of the pool. When he refused, a crowd of around 30 people gathered around, dragged him out and beat him up.

    The man suffered multiple injuries and bruises, and was rushed to first aid in Ayia Napa and then to Nicosia General Hospital to have his ear stitched.

    Ayia Napa police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and are looking for the persons who beat up the victim.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Jewellers targeted in second smash and grab raid

    By a Staff Reporter

    A SECOND high-profile burglary in Limassol in just 48 hours took place yesterday morning, with the perpetrators getting away with over 30,000 worth of goods.

    In what was a carbon-copy break-in, thieves smashed two holes into the store's glass pane. They stole three diamond necklaces and several diamond rings, worth an estimated 30,000.

    But as they fled the scene they left behind the iron club they used to smash the windowpane. Police also found bloodstains, and believe one of the perpetrators must have been cut with the glass.

    Police investigations showed that the alarm did not go off because it was connected only to the interior of the shop. The owner of the `Kovis' jewellery shop said the alarm system was not hooked to the windowpane because the pane was considered to be shatterproof.

    Some jewellery shops take additional precautions by placing sound detectors on the inside surface of the windowpanes.

    Limassol police have not named any suspects, but police sources said that the perpetrators could be the same as those who broke into another shop on Wednesday.

    The burglars had stolen watches worth around 42,000 from the `Vassos Iliades' jewellery shop, just a short distance from the store hit yesterday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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