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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-13
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>
Friday, September 13, 2002
 Armed raiders make off with £3,000 from wine co-opA NUMBER of people have been questioned in connection with an armed robbery at the Gerasa Wine Co-operative, which took place on Wednesday night, Limassol police said yesterday.
Police said two hooded men armed with a hunting shotgun entered the co- operative at 8pm and forced the secretary, Constantinos Papaconstantinou, to the ground.
The robbers taped his hands and grabbed all the cash and cheques they could find, amounting to around £3,000.
The pair then got into a red double-cab van they had parked near the community's primary school.
Papaconstantinou managed to free himself a while later and scrambled to the village church, where he tolled the bell, alerting the residents.
Police immediately set roadblocks in the area but it was too late.
A large number of people have been questioned since Wednesday night, but no arrests had yet been made, police said yesterday.
The search for the suspects are focusing on the greater Gerasa area, though efforts to locate the getaway car have also come up empty.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Denktash document 'unlikely' to break the deadlockTURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has submitted a new document on all the aspects of the Cyprus question, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou confirmed yesterday.
Papapetrou said Denktash submitted the document during Wednesday's meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, which was part of the UN-led direct talks.
However, Papapetrou said that judging by Denktash's public remarks about the document, it did not appear to be contributing to the effort to break the current deadlock.
"If one goes by what Denktash says in public, as there is no need to refer to what is said at the negotiating table for fear of being accused of violating the embargo, one can understand that it is obvious that we are not facing a situation which can break the deadlock," Papapetrou said. He did, however, recommend patience until the document was examined in detail.
He said public statements by Denktash and his associates after yesterday's meeting left no room for anybody to even think there was a substantive change.
"The document will be studied carefully and any response will be given at the talks," the spokesman added.
It was the second time that Denktash has put forward a document outlining his position on the Cyprus issue. The first one was submitted on April 29 and the latest document is said to be an improved version. "I hope they (the Greek Cypriot side) like it," Denktash told reporters after Wednesday's meeting with Clerides.
The two leaders, who will travel to New York to meet UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan on October 3 and 4, will meet again today. Papapetrou said that as of next week meetings would take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, instead of Tuesdays and Fridays.
Papapetrou said that Greek Cypriot side would go to New York with the resolve to be flexible within the framework of Security Council resolutions.
"If Turkey leads this attempt to failure, we have for the first time a course to follow on an issue dear to Ankara, our accession course for EU membership," Papapetrou said.
In the past, he said, "all we could do was to pick up the pieces after the Turkish side had left past attempts in ruins."
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Avacom shares suspended on reports of Greek takeoverBy Jean Christou
THE CYPRUS Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday suspended trading in shares of Avacom Net Service (ANS) and Avacom Computer Services (ACS) for 15 minutes pending an announcement by the company on reports that it was to be taken over by Greek telecoms firm OTE.
Phileleftheros yesterday reported that OTE had announced its entry to the Cypriot Internet services market through the takeover of a majority stake of LogosNet and AvacomNet by its Internet subsidiary, OTEnet. Confidential talks between OTEnet and AvacomNet and LogosNet have been under way for some time, the paper said, adding that on Wednesday night OTE representatives arrived in Cyprus to iron out the final details of the deal.
According to the report, OTENET would acquire the vast majority of the share capital of the two Internet service providers, while the current owners would maintain smaller stakes in the companies, resulting in OTE capturing a significant share of the Cypriot Internet market.
ANS was suspended from trading for the protection of investors at 10.25am and ACS at 10.40am. Both companies were allowed to resume trading at 10.50am.
Immediately following the suspension, Avacom issued an announcement neither confirming nor denying the report. The company said that within the framework of the reorganisation of its operations and extension of its network of associates, it was currently in contact with various organisations and companies. "But for the time there is nothing to announce, " the statement said.
Referring to the Phileleftheros report, ANS said the company wanted to clarify and confirm that it was currently holding negotiations concerning its ISP activities, but not the activities of the entire company. "The negotiations have not been completed yet," it said, adding that it would make an announcement if any agreement were reached.
However, a later statement from OTEnet dismissed the Phileleftheros story as "untrue".
"OTEnet has expressed interest in the Cypriot market in the past but has not made any decisions or reached any agreements with the above companies," a press release said.
ANS shares closed one cent higher yesterday at five cents on a volume of 951,000 shares traded. ACS gained almost one cent to end at four cents on a volume of 690,000 shares traded.
Commenting on the market's surge on the back of the reports (it ended up 1.29 per cent), one online analyst said the "extravaganza" showed that investors were thirsty for news and developments and that there was a potential for market recovery.
"It is not a question of whether the market will recover, but when. Investors are alive and kicking and waiting on the sidelines with their double-barrelled shotguns for a sign," he said. "Nevertheless, today's scenario was not justifiable and signifies that investors are gullible to news. The media has to take this and the fragile state of investors' psyche into serious consideration. In future, they must make sure that announcements of this kind are worded in an exact manner, thus avoiding a false hype that may lead to loss of capital. It also shows that investors must give the benefit of the doubt to all the material they read and double- check their sources before using them for their investment decisions."
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 AKEL defends Papadopoulos over links with MilosevicBy George Psyllides
AKEL leader Demetris Christofias yesterday defended his party's candidate for the presidential elections, DIKO chairman Tasos Papadopoulos, arguing that the allegations that Papadopoulos had been involved in laundering money for former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic had been "fabricated" and "unfair".
Speaking at a news conference, Christofias said Papadopoulos' presidency would bring change to the country's administration.
Asked whether Papadopoulos had been invited to the American embassy on Wednesday for the commemoration of those who died on September 11 last year, Cristofias said he did not know if the DIKO chairman had received an invitation, adding, however, that the presidential elections concerned the Cypriot people only.
"We are going ahead without taking directions from anyone," he said.
But in case there was no invitation, Christofias urged the American embassy not to engage in actions that might foster anti-American feelings.
Asked whether he was worried about international reactions given Papadopoulos' link to Yugoslav funds, Christofias said it was the authorities that gave instructions for the circulation of foreign currency and not individual law offices.
"Let this story stop before we enter, and we should not enter, into deeper waters, and let us all defend the integrity of political life in the country," Christofias said.
He added: "The Republic of Cyprus says it is clean because there was an investigation; our patriotism and pro-Yugoslav feelings, including the government's, impel us to defend the Republic of Cyprus."
"This is what AKEL does," he said.
Christofias wondered why the same was not happening when it came to the "unfair and fabricated charges" concerning Papadopoulos.
He claimed the whole matter was being recycled continuously "starting internally, going abroad, and then returning" again.
He charged that some people lacking arguments against their political opponents sought help from abroad, a tactic that undermined the country's political life.
"With their hand on their heart, were there any politicians, publishers, or others, who did not protest outside the American embassy condemning the genocide against Yugoslavia when Slobodan Milosevic was president?" Christofias said.
He repeated that some people on the island were recycling fabricated and unfair charges and argued that Papadopoulos had good contacts in the EU.
Concerning dissidents within his party who disagree with supporting a centre-right capitalist, Christofias said there were some differences between AKEL and DIKO, noting however those differences did not stretch into a chasm.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Hotel discounts for Cypriots to go with EU accessionBy Jean Christou
SPECIAL hotel discounts for Cypriots are to be abolished from 2004 as part of the island's EU accession, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) said yesterday.
By law, hotels must offer Cypriots a discount on the price of rooms, but from 2004 the government cannot discriminate against EU citizens to the benefit of Cypriots.
"This facility for Cypriots will be scrapped. Next year will be the last year," said CTO senior official Lefkos Phylactides. "No discrimination will be allowed between Cypriots and Europeans because it will be illegal and invalid."
The discount for Cypriots used to be 15 per cent but has been gradually raised to a minimum of 30 per cent for the summer period and 50 per cent for the winter period, the CTO said.
Hoteliers also have a separate initiative, which is voluntary, where Cypriots can obtain up to 70 per cent discount at selected hotels during specific periods they deem appropriate, usually during the slow winter period.
Phylactides said the move would not necessarily be a bad development. He said currently the published prices that hotels issued were inflated as a starting point for bargaining with tour operators, so they could be in a position to be seen knocking off anything between 30 and 50 per cent.
"The published rates are not really very relevant to the market," he said. "There is a tendency to set high published rates so that they are in a better bargaining position. Published rates are only payable by individual guests but usually they are granted some kind of discount."
Phylactides said this had often been a bone of contention for the CTO because it gave the impression abroad that Cyprus was an expensive destination - "whereas in effect very few hoteliers enforce these published rates".
Phidias Karis, spokesman for STEK, the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises representing a group of four and five star hotels, said the development was merely part of EU harmonisation. "If we give the discount to Cypriots as compulsory then it should also be given compulsory to all citizens of the European Union," he said. "So it should be left to the competitive conditions prevailing in a free economy and it should be left to the entrepreneurs to decide if they want to give a discount or not."
Karis said it was a standard practice for Cypriots to stay in hotels at home only a few days a year and that the sector could not rely on the very small domestic market for sustainable business. He said that the discounts obligation could not be kept because none of the member countries imposed compulsory concessions and discounts for their citizens. "Now we are in the process of harmonising our economy and our laws with those prevailing in the European Union," he said. "We are not in the process of harmonising the EU with the laws prevailing in Cyprus."
Hoteliers' Association Director-general Zacharias Ioannides said the development was a good one for Cypriots and would mean lower hotel prices.
"The official rates are very high," he said. "Europeans are getting much more discounts because they are coming with packages and package prices are much lower than the official rates so as of accession it will be possible for all Europeans and Cypriots to have similar hotel rates much lower than in the official catalogues."
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Roman Basilica donates relics of Evangelist to church in StrovolosBy Jean Christou
A CHURCH in Rome has given Cyprus a bone believed to be part of the remains of St Luke the Evangelist, author of one of the four Gospels of the New Testament.
Father Umberto, the Latin Church representaive in Cyprus, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the bone, which is from a piece of an arm, had been given as a permanent gift by the Basilica of Santa Maria in Rome to the Greek Orthodox Church of St Luke the Evangelist in Strovolos, a suburb of Nicosia.
He said the relic was brought to Cyprus earlier this week by four Franciscian colleagues of his, and that a special ceremony was to be held in the Strovolos church last night to mark the event.
Father Umberto said he did not know the details of how the gift came to be given to Cyprus, only that a professor in Crete had made it possible with the co-operation of the Bishop of Kykko, who bore all the expenses, and the Church in Rome.
"They (the Franciscians) said the relic was a piece of the bone from the arm of St Luke and they brought authentication documents with them," Father Umberto said.
He said the relic has been placed in a special place inside the Nicosia church where it could be viewed by the faithful.
Relics of Saint Luke the Evangelist were identified in Padua in September 1998, some 430 years after they had been placed in the Basilica of Santa Justina in the northern Italian city.
The data of confirmation was published in a Jesuit magazine, after research was carried out by a commission headed by a renowned anatomy pathologist from the University of Padua.
After removing a 3,000-pound marble slab that covered the sarcophagus, scientists found a lead box weighing 1,500 pounds. The box, measuring 75 inches by 16 inches and 20 inches in depth, was resting on a wooden board and had two red wax seals.
Inside the box, a skeleton was found that was missing the cranium, the right elbow and the right ankle bone. According to the study, the bones are those of a man who died between the ages of 70 and 85, and was 5'4" tall, which tallied with what was known about the Luke the Evangelist in Christian tradition.
Tests showed that the occupant had suffered acute osteoporosis, grave arthrosis of the spinal cord, and pulmonary emphysema, but the bones had been arranged with great care. Vessels in the sarcophagus contained coins, four parchments, and lead weights that gave evidence of the authenticity of the relic.
The feast day of St Luke, whose name means "Bringer of Light" is October 18. According to accounts, he was born in Antioch, of Greek pagan parents and was one of the earliest Christian converts. Legend says that he was also a painter who painted icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary. An icon of the Virgin attributed to Saint Luke is at Kykkos Monastery. The evangelist is identifed as the patron saint of artists, as well as doctors and bachelors.
Saint Luke travelled with Saint Paul, who referrred to him as "his most dear physican" and preached in Greece and Rome. Much of the the gospel of Luke was based on the teachings and writings of Paul. Some accounts say Luke was an Apostle of Christ, others that he wrote his gospel based on eyewitness accounts and only became a Christian after Jesus ascended into Heaven. The bones of St. Luke were taken from Patras in 357 by order of the Emperor Constantius, and deposited in the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople, together with those of St. Andrew and St. Timothy, while other relics were dispersed to various other churches, including on Mount Athos in Greece. The head of St. Luke was brought by St. Gregory from Constantinople to Rome, and laid in the church of his monastery of St. Andrew.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Cabinet approves waste legislationTHE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday approved legislation required by EU directives for the management of solid and hazardous waste.
Announcing the decision, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Costas Themistocleous said this was part of the government's commitment to implement the acquis communautaire from January 1, 2003.
Speaking after yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Themistocleous said discussions began several months ago and had been completed today, adding that the legislation would be submitted to the House through the Foreign Ministry for approval in October, making manufacturers responsible for waste management.
The aim of the legislation is to secure both public health and the environment, in that it provides for a number of measures on the management of hazardous and non-hazardous public waste, household, packaging material and industrial waste, among others. It will also include management of old tyres, electrical appliances and used mineral oils.
The Minister said the legislation would significantly benefit public health and protect the environment, especially with the disposal of dangerous substances, the collection, management and controlled disposal of solid waste from households and industry, restoring areas which were infected, and conserve energy.
Themistocleous said the annual cost to Cyprus to implement the acquis on waste management would reach £43 million. The complete implementation of a comprehensive waste management plan, as provided by law, will cost between £30 to £35 million pounds.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002