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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, September 18, 2002


  • [01] British tourist kidnapped and raped
  • [02] Green fury at giant new Akamas tourist complex
  • [03] Two more Syrians suspected of illegal entry through airport scam
  • [04] Iraq war would be 'devastating for tourism'
  • [05] Reply to Denktash document handed over
  • [06] Efforts under way to iron out disagreements on CyTA deal
  • [07] Bird hunters form 'struggle committee' to co-ordinate campaign
  • [08] BA celebrates 70 years in Cyprus
  • [09] Doctors face court after boy's death

  • [01] British tourist kidnapped and raped

    By Alex Mita

    A 22-YEAR-OLD British woman from Lancashire has been kidnapped, beaten and raped by three men in Larnaca, police said yesterday.

    The tourist was found by residents, seriously injured in a field at Ayia Thekla outside Sotira, just after midday. They immediately called an ambulance, which took her to Paralimni hospital.

    The woman told CID officers that she had been at a night spot in Ayia Napa in the early hours of the morning when three men dragged her to a car and drove her to a remote area, where she was beaten and raped by one of them.

    The tourist was examined by State Pathologist Eleni Antoniou, who confirmed the woman had been physically and sexually assaulted.

    "This is a severe case of sexual and physical abuse," she told the Cyprus Mail.

    "She has been sodomised, and due to the seriousness of her injuries she had to be taken to Larnaca hospital for surgery."

    Antoniou said the woman's condition was serious but not critical. Antoniou said she had given the results of her findings to the Famagusta district CID.

    Police said last night the victim had been unable to provide detailed information on her assailants, as she was still in a state of shock.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Green fury at giant new Akamas tourist complex

    By Jean Christou

    GREENS yesterday expressed their outrage at plans to build a new luxury hotel only one kilometre from the once-controversial Anassa complex in the Akamas, but environmental authorities say the project is within a development zone.

    "We can't protest because it is a tourist zone," said Antonia Theodosiou, a spokesperson for the Federation of Environmental Organisations. "Our problem is that the environmental service could claim that the hotel is going to destroy the landscape and the flora and fauna of that area."

    The new hotel complex will be built by Crown Resorts, which owns nine tourist units, including the newly opened Crown Resorts Coral Bay, and Larnaca's Four Lanterns and Karpasiana hotels.

    The new four-star complex near Latchi will reportedly cover 55,687 square metres of ground with a hotel building and 17 bungalows with a total of 500 beds, compared to the Anassa's 360. Reports say it will also have 132 private parking spaces and a private road network within the complex. It is due to be completed in one and a half to two years.

    And it may not be the only new hotel in the area. According to Nicos Georgiades, Director of the Environmental Services at the Agriculture Ministry, one other new hotel has already been licensed and another is under consideration.

    The evaluation committee, which Georgiades heads and which assesses the environmental impact studies, has not yet decided whether to approve the Crown project, but it seems likely that it will not be rejected, since the conclusions of the report were favourable, raising the ire of the greens.

    Theodosiou feels the committee, comprising two people from the private sector and five from various government departments concerned with the environment, could reject the project on the grounds that it will ruin the landscape in the area, in addition to several types of flora and fauna.

    "It's the opinion of the Federation that building the hotel will damage the environment and we are against it," she said. "He (Georgiades) just listens to us but he doesn't have to agree with us."

    Theodosiou also said the environmental impact study was contradictory.

    "In some parts it says there is a danger to some species but the conclusions say it won't damage the environment," she said. "Of course who would dare to say 'don't build it' when they are being paid by the developers.

    "In other countries the environmental impact companies care about their good name. They are well known companies and have to be neutral and objective, but in Cyprus this is not the case," she claimed.

    Georgiades said he was not aware of any considerable damage to any environmental parameters in this particular case, although the final word has not yet been given.

    "It is in a tourist zone and the environment of the area doesn't have any significant unique parameters that cannot be protected through management measures," he said. "We are a responsible agency that has to act on scientific grounds and we have to consider the parameters of the project based on justifiable issues and not based on theoretical concepts."

    Georgiades said the area was not important to endangered turtles and did not have any unique landscape features, "so I don't see what particular issues should be of concern," he said.

    "It will be a change in what's existing in the area, yes, but in this respect we should not do anything, not drive our cars or build our houses because we are changing the environment. But we are not damaging a unique environment. The is issue under consideration, but so far these are our findings."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Two more Syrians suspected of illegal entry through airport scam

    TWO more Syrian men were yesterday remanded in custody for seven days on suspicion of illegally entering the island through Larnaca airport with the help of a criminal ring that had access to the premises and smuggled them past passport control.

    Four men have already been remanded in custody in connection with the case. Among them is a Lebanese permanent resident, who works for a travel agency and who was allegedly caught smuggling a suspect from the airport on Sunday.

    Police, acting on a tip-off, had placed Josef Assaf, 33, under surveillance and allegedly saw him leading an immigrant out of the staff exit and into a taxi.

    Officers followed the taxi to Larnaca, and arrested the two suspects as they got out.

    The two other suspects, one the suspected ringleader, were arrested a little while later on Phinikoudes beach, police said.

    Police found $2,000 on one of the suspects, which he claimed was due for his passage.

    The Larnaca district court yesterday remanded two more Syrian men suspected of illegal entry and residence, as well as conspiring to commit a misdemeanour.

    The two were arrested on Monday in Yeri outside Nicosia.

    The court heard the immigrants who allegedly came to Cyprus through this scam were told to wear white shirts and black trousers to match Assaf's attire.

    The men went through the airport looking like travel agent staff, despite not having a permit, the court heard.

    Police told the court that more Syrians thought to have entered Cyprus in the same way were being sought.

    In their house in Yeri, police found a third Syrian passport belonging to the brother of one of the suspects remanded yesterday, but who managed to escape arrest.

    The two suspects did not object to their remand, but claimed before the court that they did not know they needed a visa to enter the island.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Iraq war would be 'devastating for tourism'

    By Jean Christou

    BRITISH tourists are already reluctant to book holidays in Cyprus as the threat of war with Iraq looms, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    "Already, we have messages from London that people have started being a little bit reluctant even before anything has happened," the Minister told the Cyprus Mail. "That is the message we have from London. People are wondering if they should travel this part of the world or not, and the matter is a cause for concern."

    The Minister said that a meeting had been arranged for next week with representatives of the tourist sector to discuss the implications of any US attack on Iraq. He said the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) had already drawn up a report outlining scenarios for the periods before, during and after any conflict in the region.

    During the 1991 Gulf War, Cyprus lost 50 per cent of its tourism overnight and was forced to drop its prices dramatically the following year to lure tourists back to the island.

    "We are concerned in two directions, the one is tourism because we are in the eastern Mediterranean and it's an attack against an Arab country. We don't know how the Arabs will react and to what extent we will be affected, " Rolandis said.

    The other problem was the upgrading of Turkey by the US in the event of war and also the possible use of British bases in Cyprus and a number of other "unpredictables".

    Referring to the last Gulf War, Rolandis said the 1991 conflict had been "quite a bad blow" to tourism. "This is why we are concerned and this also comes in the wake of September 11 and we have not recovered from that, so if we get a second blow it will be a bad one," the Minister said. "Tourism is the powerhouse of the economy and a second blow to this very sensitive sector is very much undesirable."

    Tourism arrivals for this year are expected to be down around nine per cent over 2001. Last year, the sector broke even after a record 2.7 million tourists visited the island in 2000.

    Rolandis said there would also be a second meeting relating to the implications of the crisis on oil supplies.

    "We depend on imported oil so we also have some concerns here," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Reply to Denktash document handed over

    THE GREEK Cypriot side yesterday gave its response to a document submitted last week by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash during the ongoing direct talks with President Glafcos Clerides.

    The two leaders met yesterday in the framework of their regular twice- weekly negotiations.

    "A detailed response was given in writing and some points were explained," Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.

    Papapetrou said that during yesterday's meeting, the issue of the executive and legislative powers of the central state had been discussed and that deliberations on this issue would continue on Thursday, while next week talks would focus on territory.

    The entire agenda until the current round of talks ends on September 26, has already been laid out, the spokesman said.

    On October 1, Clerides and Denktash are expected to fly to New York for talks with UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan on October 3 and 4. The three men already met earlier this month in Paris.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Efforts under way to iron out disagreements on CyTA deal

    By George Psyllides

    NEGOTIATIONS between the telecommunications authority (CyTA) and unions representing its employees for the renewal of the collective agreement are set to continue in an effort to iron out disagreement on four points out of 16, Finance Minister Takis Klerides said yesterday.

    The four points concern the transfer of bank holidays, the unification of salary scales, the provision of cash as an incentive for personnel, and optional retirement at 63.

    Speaking after a long meeting with Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou and CyTA chairman Stathis Papadakis, Klerides said the four points were not in line with the guiding framework agreed in November of last year by the government, the unions and semi governmental organisations.

    Klerides said the meeting discussed the four points of disagreement.

    "In the Finance Ministry's view, the four points are not in our guiding framework so it was decided to hold further negotiations with the unions on these four sticking points," Klerides said.

    Papadakis said the two sides had agreed on 12 of the 16 provisions in the agreement and there were differences on the other four.

    Papadakis added the demands were "reasonable and correct", noting, however, that after yesterday's meeting CyTA would discuss the four points anew.

    He revealed that two or three of the demands had been tabled by CyTA and not the unions, because "they served the organisation".

    Concerning the cost of the demands, Klerides said this would be an issue to be discussed, "in order to find out if there really is an additional cost," which would mean that it would not be in line with the guiding framework.

    He nevertheless added that some of the demands would not carry any additional costs and thus fall within the guidelines.

    Concerning incentives for staff, Papadakis said the organisation would soon be faced with competition and had to find ways to hold on to its staff.

    Papadakis yesterday also announced substantial cuts in mobile and international telephony rates, which could reach up to 30 per cent.

    He added that CyTA departments were working hard to have their proposals ready for the afternoon's board meeting that would have the final say.

    Papadakis said that if the cuts were approved by the board, CyTA would probably hold a news conference today to announce them.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Bird hunters form 'struggle committee' to co-ordinate campaign

    By Alex Mita

    FURIOUS Larnaca district residents yesterday formed a 'Committee for the Struggle' to lift a government ban on the illegal hunting of ambelopoulia with lime sticks.

    In a meeting of the 'Friends of the Ambelopoulia' yesterday, the residents demanded that the government re-negotiate the Berne Convention to exclude the trapping of birds, saying this method of hunting was a tradition passed on to them by their forefathers.

    "We want lime stick hunting to stay as we have known it ever since we were born," one resident said.

    "It is a part of farmers' lives. If the government carry out a poll, they will discover that over 80 per cent of the population wants to hunt with lime sticks."

    DISY deputy Zacharias Zachariou, who was present at yesterday's meeting, said the law banning trapping of birds with lime sticks was wrong.

    "It is a traditional way of hunting that has been used in Cyprus for centuries," he said.

    "We ask the government to re-negotiate the Berne Convention so that the hunting of ambelopoulia with lime sticks is excluded from it."

    Zachariou insisted that lime sticking should be excluded from the Convention, just like other traditional forms of hunting in Europe have been excluded.

    "_Ambelopoulia,/i> are not an endangered species. Our records show that the birds were exported from Cyprus in the past. It is something that has been going on for years. "

    Residents in the area have already handed in over 7,000 election booklets in retaliation to the recent campaign by the Game Service and SBA police to clamp down on illegal bird trapping, and they met last night to discuss ways to tackle the issue.

    Yesterday, the Game Service announced they had arrested a 64-year-old man after he was caught with lime sticks and six dead birds.

    The clampdown, which started two years ago, has gained momentum in recent months, with police seizing hundreds of bird calling equipment and thousands of pounds' worth of mist nets and lime sticks.


    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] BA celebrates 70 years in Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    BRITISH Airways (BA) yesterday began celebrations for its 70th anniversary in Cyprus with a photographic exhibition of the airline through the last seven decades operating to the island.

    The exhibition at Nicosia's Famagusta Gate of mainly black and white photos was officially opened last night by Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis and will run nightly until September 21.

    Earlier yesterday at a news conference, which included a fashion display of each decade of BA stewardess uniforms, BA's sales manager in Cyprus, Marianna Trokoudes, spoke about the airline's success on the island.

    BA began flights to Cyprus in 1932 as Imperial Airways, which delivered mail to Limassol port. The airline soon recognised the need for air travel and expanded into passenger services to and from the island.

    In 1948, the airline changed its name to British European Airlines (BEA), a year after the establishment of the national carrier Cyprus Airways, to whom BEA leased three Dakotas.

    In 1973, BEA and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) became British Airways, which was the first foreign airline to resume flights to Cyprus, this time to Larnaca Airport, after the 1974 Turkish invasion in early 1975.

    "Our relationship with Cyprus has always been mutually beneficial," Trokoudes said. "Through our commitment to the island we have shown the travelling public that Cyprus continues to be a very important destination for British Airways and our intention is constantly to improve our services to the island."

    Also present at the news conference was former BA pilot Richard Council, who is now retired and living in Paphos. Council spoke of his days flying Comets and Tridents into the island to the old Nicosia Airport in the sixties and of staying at the now UN-controlled Ledra Palace Hotel and the Dome Hotel in now occupied Kyrenia.

    He said the Trident still held the flight record of three hours and 20 minutes flying time from Cyprus to the UK. "This was recorded 33 years ago as the fastest time between the UK and Cyprus," he said.

    The celebrations also paid tribute to the late Andreas Nicolaou, who died recently. Nicolaou was the first local manager to be appointed by BA worldwide and worked with the airline for 42 years. His family was given a commemorative memento in his honour.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Doctors face court after boy's death

    FIVE doctors are to be prosecuted for allegedly causing the death of a 14- year-old boy, Georgos Hadjidemetriou, who died last year from an infected wound he had suffered in a fall.

    An investigation was launched by Health Minister Frixos Savvides after a post mortem examination by former state pathologist Dr Marios Matsakis revealed that a piece of clothing left in the wound was thought to have been the cause of death.

    After reviewing the findings of the investigation, Attorney-general Alecos Markides ordered that the five doctors appear before the court.

    The boy's father, Omiros Hadjidemetriou, told the CyBC last night he expects the truth to come out regarding the cause of his son's death.

    "I have been informed by the Deputy Attorney-general that the five doctors are to appear before court," he said. "This will not bring my son back, but I am hoping that his death will be a sacrifice that will stop other children suffering" from alleged medical neglect.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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