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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, September 19, 2002


  • [01] Do Cypriots know what a settlement will really mean?
  • [02] Council of Ministers approves 2003 state budget
  • [03] Senior police officer and customs official arrested in car import scam
  • [04] Six arrested in bird-trapping raids
  • [05] Most back EU, but many are still ill-informed
  • [06] Cheap, fast and environmentally friendly: log homes come to Cyprus
  • [07] Five doctors to be charged 'within days'
  • [08] November 17 suspects 'holidayed in Cyprus'

  • [01] Do Cypriots know what a settlement will really mean?

    By Jean Christou

    A SENIOR adviser from the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO) said yesterday that there was not enough discussion within the two communities, and particularly among Greek Cypriots, on the meaning of a Cyprus settlement.

    The PRIO has been organising dialogue and discussions between the two sides since 1997, and has put together several high-profile meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and between Greeks and Turks.

    Dan Smith, project leader of the Greek-Turkish forum and the dialogue forum in Cyprus, told a working lunch of Greek Cypriot journalists and politicians yesterday that meetings should not just take place between the sides but also within each community.

    "Because frankly, what we see looking from the outside is that we don't see enough discussion within the communities, and particularly within the Greek Cypriot community, about the meaning of a possible settlement," Smith said.

    "This is a time when every effort must be put into the discussion or dialogue within, as well as between the two communities."

    Smith said that while the official position of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash remained the same, despite some marginal variations, things were very much on the move within Turkish Cypriot society.

    "Business people understand that Europe offers opportunities that they will lose if there is annexation (by Turkey)," he said, adding that the understanding that Europe was the way to go "and the only way to go" was circulating broadly in the north, despite the slow pace of change.

    He added that looking from the outside raised the question about how much of an understanding existed on the Greek Cypriot side, "and how ready it is for the reality of a settlement'.

    The only possibility for a settlement was one that was mutually acceptable, Smith said.

    "There are things that Greek Cypriots want that Turkish Cypriots are frightened of and although they understand they have no real future outside of the European Union with Cyprus divided, nonetheless they find it extremely difficult to swallow some of the things that Greek Cypriots would like," he said.

    "So an agreement must be a compromise and a compromise by definition is less than perfect, less than everything you wished for."

    A good agreement on Cyprus, he added, must be one where problems raised by various fears could be resolved.

    "A good settlement has to be one which not only Greek Cypriots want but one which Turkish Cypriots want."

    Smith cautioned, however, against any hurried settlement, which might break down at a later date. He said this was a possibility if the two sides were rushed into an agreement due to the pressure of time constraints linked with the island's EU accession. He also expressed the fear that if Ankara decided it had had enough of Cyprus and gave the go ahead for a solution "there would be no one to look out for the interests of the Turkish Cypriots".

    "It's generally accepted that the problem of Cyprus will not be solved unless Ankara wants it solved," Smith said.

    "Turkey is eternally in the process of change and it's a very slow change," he said. "Should Turkey take the European road or not?"

    He added that after a long struggle there was now a sense of reality that Europe was the only option. "The paradox has been the view that Turkey can go on this road without solving this problem, this bump in the road, this huge boulder on the road called Cyprus," he added, pointing out that Turkey could not have territorial disputes with a sovereign state, which is a member of the EU.

    "I think the situation that exists is paradoxical because it's still a difficult process with a long road to go in a short period of time," Smith said.

    "But the truth is the prospects are better than they have ever been. At the same time, the consequences of no settlement will be more serious because in most observers' view it will be hard to return to the question of Cyprus if a settlement is not achieved."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Council of Ministers approves 2003 state budget

    THE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday approved the state budget for 2003, which provides for £3,068.7 million in expenditure and £2,389.4 million in revenue.

    The total public deficit is expected to broaden by £453.1million pounds and reach £6362.2 million or 93.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to £5909.1 million or 94.9 percent of the GDP expected by the end of this year.

    Speaking to Cyprus News Agency yesterday, Minister of Finance Takis Klerides said the 2003 budget satisfies the government's goals for further convergence of the Cyprus economy to that of the European Union.

    He also said the tax reform and the pre-accession programme were bringing Cyprus "perhaps towards the final step in accession to the EU".

    Klerides said the budget foresees a reduction of the fiscal deficit and public deficit, adding that despite the fact that in 2002 "we faced and are still facing a negative economic climate like the rest of the world", Cyprus has shown a rate of growth which is higher than that of the EU and the US.

    Public deficit, according to the Maastricht criteria, is expected in 2003 to reach

    54 per cent of the GDP from 55.5 per cent in 2002.

    The fiscal deficit will be restricted to 1.9% of the GDP, compared to 2.6 per cent in 2002, while the rate of growth is expected to range between 2.5 per cent and three per cent.

    Expenditure for development projects in 2003 will reach £375.1 million compared to the reviewed expenditure of 247,7 million pounds in 2002.

    Some £50.6 million will go towards improvements of the road network, another £24.6 million to water projects, £32.1 million to civil planning, £36.4 million for education, £16 million to the Cyprus University, £7.1 million will be geared towards the cultural services and £26.6 million for agricultural development.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Senior police officer and customs official arrested in car import scam

    By George Psyllides

    A SENIOR police officer, Yiannakis Panayiotou, and a customs official were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the car assembly scam, police said last night.

    The police officer was suspended when it emerged that he allegedly ran one of the car dealerships currently under investigation on the side.

    The company was registered in the name of his daughter who is currently studying abroad.

    Yesterday morning, customs seized four more luxury cars from a Nicosia garage just as they were being assembled.

    Three had been seized on Tuesday.

    Earlier, Finance Minister Takis Klerides vowed to bring to justice all those involved in the scam.

    "(The investigation) will not stop anywhere until is completed and evidence is found concerning potential offences," Klerides said.

    The minister stressed that the government was not interested in who was involved in the case, whether they were civil servants or citizens.

    At the same time, deputy Attorney-general Petros Clerides said that more police officers could be involved in the case.

    The case, which has snowballed in recent days, emerged a couple of weeks ago after customs officers raided several garages and seized luxury cars thought to have been imported in the form of spare parts.

    Customs believe luxury vehicles are imported in the form of spare parts and subsequently assembled and sold without paying the necessary duties to the state.

    Clerides, speaking after a meeting with customs and CID officers, said that more and more evidence is being collected each day. He added that the case was bigger than what authorities initially thought.

    Clerides hinted that transport department officers could be involved in the case.

    Reports yesterday claimed that at last three more senior police officers could be doubling as car spare parts importers, which were subsequently assembled into luxury vehicles.

    The deputy attorney-general said authorities did not know yet whether the operations were centrally controlled or there were individual rings around the island.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Six arrested in bird-trapping raids

    By Alex Mita

    THE Game Service yesterday arrested six Larnaca district residents on suspicion of trapping ambelopoulia and other wild birds with lime sticks and bird calling devices.

    According to police, two men, a 26 and a 23-year-old, were caught trapping wild birds with an illegal method in the Chirokitia area. During the arrest, Kofinou Game wardens seized four mist nets and seven supporting poles. The men were charged and later released.

    Game Service wardens also arrested two men after they were caught shooting protected species of birds. The two men, aged 49 and 59 were charged and later released. Police confiscated a shotgun, 70 shells and six birds.

    A 28-year-old man was also arrested after police found six dead ambelopoulia in his car. After interrogation, the man led Game Service wardens to his father's farm, where they seized 75 lime sticks, nine wire traps as well as two bird calling devices, three speakers and a tape recorder. The 28-year-old's father was also arrested and taken to Kofinou police station, where he was charged and released.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Most back EU, but many are still ill-informed

    By George Psyllides

    AROUND 75 per cent of Cypriots favour European Union accession, while 60 per cent believe joining will have advantages for the island, a survey has found.

    But the survey, presented yesterday by the office of the island's Chief EU Negotiator George Vassiliou, also found that people were not well informed on EU issues.

    According to the report, the 22 per cent of respondents who opposed membership were ill informed on the implications of joining the EU.

    The overwhelming majority of the sample - 75 per cent - said they supported the decision to join the EU, with only 22 per cent opposing it.

    The percentage of people who are against the EU is especially high in rural areas, where it reaches 29.2 per cent.

    Twenty-nine per cent of those opposed to membership come from low-income classes, while of top earners only 7.5 per cent oppose membership.

    Among the reasons given by those opposing accession are fears that the cost of leaving will go up, that there will be a rise in unemployment, a surge in the number of foreigners coming to Cyprus, more poverty, and that the EU would exploit Cyprus.

    "Beyond any doubt, the replies show that with the right information, which would prove that none of these reasons is founded, the positions would radically change," the survey said.

    Sixty-eight per cent said they would feel more security with accession, compared to 16 per cent who disagreed, while 85 per cent said accession would contribute positively to a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    The survey also showed that people were not too clear concerning the financial benefits of accession, as some were under the impression that the EU would help the island's economy, while others believe the effect would be small.

    The survey questioned 1,004 people over the age of 18 living in rural and urban areas across the island.

    It involved personal interviews and was carried out between July 16 and 29.

    The need for more information prompted the Office of the Chief Negotiator and the European Institute to set up a hotline for those having any questions concerning the EU.

    Citizens can call 80001112, free of charge during office hours and personnel will take down questions and reply as soon as possible.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Cheap, fast and environmentally friendly: log homes come to Cyprus

    By Soteris Charalambous

    HENRY Takkebos-Seerbinin, the Dutch CEO of REFind The Nature Ltd, opened his presentation on log built homes yesterday at The Hilton with an overwhelming sense of pride. It was the kind of display normally associated with a father, who after teaching his son to drive, witnessed him obtain his licence. He produced a brown envelope to present his own form of licence, a letter from the Department of Town Planning and Housing that confirmed that it had no objection to the construction of their houses on the island.

    The presentation was jointly made with Finland's Matti Kyyrönen of Honka, introduced to his audience as the world's leading expert on log construction homes who sported his wooden tie like a general with a war medal. For 44 years, Honka have fought a battle against the 400 other wood construction companies that compete for business in Finland and have come through it with a sound business formula based on high ecological principles.

    They have come to Cyprus looking to create partnerships based on their successful principles, while remaining open to learning the vagaries of the land. In the 18 months they have been here, they have attracted interest from over 800 visitors to their offices in Limassol and with permission to build now granted are looking to build houses the way "Bentley builds cars but at Japanese prices," according to Takkebos-Seerbinin.

    They are offering homes that 'breathe' with the promise of health benefits to those that suffer with asthmatic problems, which were described as "unsurpassed in living quality, and efficient for temperature control" with the option of an a la carte dream home or an off the shelf model from one of their award winning designs.

    The designs on offer were truly beautiful, an aesthetically pleasing combination of wood and real stone that conjures up the warm blanket feeling of a log cabin in a ski resort. The bonus with these homes it that they combine beauty with a true sense that the environmental responsibility has been assumed. Kyyrönen offered the example that the effort to produce one cubic metre of log for construction uses 175kWh of energy, roughly half of what is needed for the equivalent mass in cement. Added to this comes the promise that before a single tree is felled three more are planted. The level of the thought process behind their plans was further demonstrated by the fact that they only harvest trees from one particular area of Finland, subject to a maximum of 15 hours of sunshine in the summer, refraining from using threes in areas exposed to the 24-hour midsummer sunshine because of the 'twisting' effect that it has on the trees as they follow the path of the sun.

    Kyyrönen was keen to dispel fears about the durability of the homes and presented the scene of an area of Japan that had been subjected to an earthquake, all the houses had fallen amidst the shock waves except one, a log house. According to the company, extensive research has gone into the particular problems that could affect homes in Cyprus, including excessive heat, humidity, fire risk and termites.

    But while a trip to the supermarket for an environmentally friendly shop usually leaves the pocket decidedly lighter, log houses, according to Takkebos-Seerbinin, are "extremely competitive". Another attraction with the log home is that around three months from date of order the construction is complete, with build time around a month from the date of delivery of materials.

    The presentation finished with the announcement that the firm are launching a competition in schools for children to design a home. The winner will see their design become reality, free of charge. It's a competition that many parents will take an interest in.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Five doctors to be charged 'within days'

    FIVE Nicosia hospital doctors would be charged in connection with the death of a 14-year-old boy who died in April last year while receiving treatment for a minor leg injury, Deputy Attorney-general Petros Clerides said yesterday.

    Clerides said charges against the five doctors involved would be filed in the next few days or the beginning of next week.

    Inquiries into the untimely death of George Hadjidemtris were launched after his grief-stricken parents complained hospital doctors had been cursory in their treatment of the minor leg injury that led to their son's death.

    Tissue tests carried out in London showed the boy died of a shock to the lungs brought on by an infection.

    An autopsy found that doctors had in three instances failed to remove a small piece of fabric from the boy's trousers from the wound, caused by a rusty metal rod.

    Pathologist Marios Matsakis, who represented the family during the post mortem, has since maintained that the doctors were negligent.

    Clerides yesterday revealed that the legal service was pondering whether to release the doctors' names. It was later decided to publish them only once the charges had been filed.

    He conceded that the number of defendants involved could make it difficult for the prosecution to prove its case, though it had handled similar cases in the past.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] November 17 suspects 'holidayed in Cyprus'

    A GROUP of November 17 terrorist suspects arrested in Greece this summer, were apparently in Cyprus last autumn, according to Mega TV.

    Mega channel claimed that suspected terror ringleader Alexandros Yiotopoulos, Demetris Koufodinas and the three Xiros brothers spent their holidays last year in Platres in the Troodos Mountains.

    Mega based its allegations on statements made by a Cypriot painter, Fivos Irakleous, who claimed he spoke to Savvas Xiros in a tavern in Platres in October or November 2001.

    According to the claims, Xiros, who was accompanied by two women, had shown interest in investing in Cyprus and Sudan.

    Irakleous claimed that other members of November 17 were also identified in the same tavern posing as French tourists. He said he didn't report seeing the men because he was afraid they were going to kill him.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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