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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, October 1, 2002


  • [01] Police reel from phone tapping claims
  • [02] Prosecutors preparing case files on car scam
  • [03] Thousands protest in anti-war protest against bases
  • [04] Police to get power to confiscate bikes ridden illegally by teenagers
  • [05] Poll puts Kykkos Bishop as favourite to succeed Archbishop
  • [06] Denktash: ground is not ready for UN proposals
  • [07] Clerides: this is the most critical time
  • [08] Attack helicopters to make parade appearance?

  • [01] Police reel from phone tapping claims

    By George Psyllides

    WITH police still reeling from the car scam scandal, fresh allegations of mobile phone monitoring by a group of officers yesterday added to the climate of distrust in the force.

    The revelations were published in yesterday's Politis, which alleged that a specific group of officers, who answered only to the force's leadership, were monitoring the mobile phone conversations of other officers as well as politicians, journalists and businesspeople.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides said yesterday that Justice Minister Alecos Shambos has ordered an investigation into the allegations.

    "The issue has to be investigated because if there was phone monitoring it means criminal offences have been committed and the perpetrators must be brought to justice," Markides said.

    Former police chief Andreas Angelides said the newspaper's report was a "fabrication, a fable with no root in reality".

    "I challenge anyone to go to Politis for them to point out the places where these fables take place," Angelides said.

    The daily claimed two senior officers were in charge of the operations, one of whom was also allegedly involved in the assembled car scam, and said customs authorities had evidence concerning his Mercedes.

    Politis said the monitoring equipment had been procured from Israel bypassing the normal tender procedures.

    The funds for the acquisition were justified as "maintenance expenses and machinery purchases", the daily claimed.

    The equipment was installed in a special room in the police HQ signals department and not even other officers serving at the HQ knew anything about it, according to the paper.

    Politis alleged that the information that was intercepted was also used to blackmail other officers, who were told to keep quite concerning their colleagues' illicit activities.

    The newspaper also claimed that the HQ had its own physical surveillance team who kept tabs on people regarded dangerous to the interests of the officers involved in the ring.

    Even former justice minister Nicos Koshis was tailed on two occasions, the daily claimed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Prosecutors preparing case files on car scam

    By George Psyllides

    A STATE attorney has been assigned to work with the customs department to prepare the cases to go before court for the assembled cars scam, Attorney- general Alecos Markides said yesterday.

    Markides said the documents seized during the investigation had been assessed and further measures were expected to be taken.

    The Attorney-general said a state attorney started working with customs yesterday in preparing case files for several suspected customs offences that would be presented in court.

    Markides said most of the cases that would go to court concerned offences punishable with up to two years in jail.

    Justice Minister Alecos Shambos said yesterday that his first concern was to take drastic measures to restore the police's prestige, severely dented by the car scandal.

    Shambos said there was a serious problem of public trust towards the police, stressing, however, that it did not mean that the whole force was "ailing".

    "What is necessary and urgent, is with specific measures and actions, not words, to restore the prestige of the police and the public's trust," Shambos said.

    He added: "Drastic measures will be taken to uproot this rot, the cancer that exists somewhere."

    One senior police officer has been remanded in connection with the scam, in which luxury cars were allegedly imported as spare parts and assembled in Cyprus, thereby evading hefty import duties.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Thousands protest in anti-war protest against bases

    By a Staff Reporter

    THOUSANDS of people protested on Sunday in a peaceful demonstration against the presence of British bases and the prospect of them being used in an attack on Iraq.

    The protesters met at the controversial RAF communications base at Akrotiri, which is used for American intelligence gathering on the Middle East, including Iraq.

    House President and communist AKEL leader Demetris Christofias said Greek Cypriots did not want the bases and feared an attack if they were used in the war against Iraq. Referring to the 1991 Gulf War, he said that the bases were being used once again in an unfair war.

    Cyprus found itself thrust to the forefront in the looming war with Iraq last week after the Financial Times played up references in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's dossier that the British bases could become a target for Saddam Hussein.

    "It is very likely the bases in Cyprus will be used in an unjust war against a neighbouring state... we demand the abolition of the bases and total demilitarisation of Cyprus," Christofias said. ''The British Bases are a hazard to our people and the people of the region''.

    He also said the British authorities should have complied with EU instructions ''to abandon the current installations at the Akrotiri Salt Lake and hand over the very important wetland to Cyprus and its people''. The controversial antenna, which has sparked several violent demonstrations on the island, is being installed in the wetland, a unique ecosystem of fresh and saltwater habitats.

    The site supports a significant number of rare species, including 13 endemic and rare plant species and 32 bird species specially protected under the European Birds Directive. A number of species of water bird winter on or migrate through the site, including around 6,000 flamingos.

    Under the terms of the Ramsar Convention, the British Bases are obliged to promote the conservation and wise use of the Akrotiri Ramsar site. "What worries us most is Britain's assertion that the bases have been targeted by Iraqi missiles," Green party deputy George Perdikis told the Guardian newspaper.

    Sunday's rally, organised by the Cyprus Council and the Green Party, attracted around 2,000 people. Some children held placards with the words "axis of evil" above a portrait of George W. Bush, who used the phrase to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Police to get power to confiscate bikes ridden illegally by teenagers

    By a Staff Reporter

    A SPATE of fatal motorcycle accidents involving teenagers has prompted the government to table legislation that would allow police to confiscate motorcycles driven by unlicensed, underage riders.

    Traffic police director Andreas Papas said this week that the three recent deaths of teenage riders demanded action to stop further lives from being lost.

    Papas said police would confiscate any motorcycle over 100cc driven by teenagers and then auction them off.

    "This would make parents think twice about giving the money to their children to buy another motorcycle," he said.

    According to Papas, a lot of parents give in to their children's demands to buy them a motorcycle because all their friends have one, regardless of the fact that they do not have a licence.

    The new bill is expected before the Plenum shortly.

    According to police, 33 people died in motorcycle accidents in 1999, 27 in 2000, 24 in 2001, and 16 so far this year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Poll puts Kykkos Bishop as favourite to succeed Archbishop

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A RECENT poll conducted by AMER-NIELSEN reveals the Bishop of Kykkos, Nikiforos, as favourite to succeed the Archbishop, assuming national elections were held this Sunday for a replacement, with the Bishop of Limassol, Athanassios, coming second in line.

    The poll, published in yesterday's Politis, asked 817 members of the public aged between 18 and 65 from across Cyprus who they would vote for as Archbishop, recording also their party affiliations.

    The report concluded that Nikiforos headed opinion polls with a 15.2 per cent lead over the next candidate, holding a 34.5 per cent majority of the vote, followed by Athanassios with 19.3 per cent. The Bishop of Kitium, Chrysostomos, received six per cent, Chrysostomos of Paphos, 5.6 per cent, Neophytos of Morphou, 4.2 per cent, and Pavlos of Kyrenia, four per cent, while 26.4 per cent declared they did not know or would not answer.

    Article 62 of the Church of Cyprus Charter provides that elections for the Archbishop's throne are voted for by a body of 100 special representatives, two fifths of which are clerics. Holy Synod members and Abbots of monasteries and churches make up part of the electoral assembly, which finally elects the Archbishop through two separate ballots.

    The poll puts the two main candidates for the throne as being Nikiforos and Athanassios in terms of party supporters preferences, according to the poll. Nikiforos won a clear majority from all political party affiliates other than those of New Horizons. Between supporters of AKEL, DISY, DIKO and KISOS, the Bishop of Kykkos held an average support between 34-37 per cent.

    Athanassios held the majority from New Horizon supporters with 33.6 per cent. He received a large proportion of support from KISOS, 33 per cent, and DISY, 23.2 per cent.

    Nikiforos also led in all major constituencies other than Limassol where the local Bishop, Athanassios, held the majority with 34.4 per cent. Nikiforos had the greatest support from Nicosia with 42.9 per cent of respondents voting in his favour. The paper notes, however, that electoral constituencies are different to ecclesiastical constituencies and that public opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the electoral assembly.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Denktash: ground is not ready for UN proposals

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan should not put forward any proposals during talks he will have with the leaders of the two sides in New York on Thursday and Friday.

    Annan is due to meet Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides to review progress in the ongoing Cyprus talks since the three men last met together in Paris on September 6. At that time, the UN Secretary-general asked the two leaders to intensify their negotiations, which have been going on since mid-January, but have achieved little progress.

    Turkish Cypriot radio yesterday quoted Denktash, on his departure for the New York talks via Istanbul, as saying Annan should not put forward any proposals because "the ground is not ready, the two sides are not ready and Cyprus is not ready".

    Denktash said that if Annan put forward proposals in New York, the Turkish Cypriot delegation would return to the island without accepting them and would discuss the situation in detail.

    "What we have at the negotiating table is the freedom and future of the Turkish Cypriots, in fact, the issue of preventing them from being expelled from Cyprus. We must realise that well. We must protect our state. We must also continue to work for peace with good will together with our motherland, " he said.

    Denktash said everybody had expectations from the New York talks, but sought to play it down as an "assessment meeting".

    "The Secretary-general is trying to help the two sides with good will and we are participating in the negotiations with good will," Denktash said.

    He said the fact that he was being accused of intransigence would not stop him from telling the truth. "We want an agreement based on equal sovereignty," he said, "not an agreement merely on paper. We will continue to tell the truth in the New York talks."

    Denktash also said the Turkish Cypriots were not very hopeful for a solution as long as the Greek Cypriot side was treated as the legitimate government of Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Clerides: this is the most critical time

    By a Staff Reporter

    IN HIS message to mark Independence Day today, President Glafcos Clerides said the celebrations this year came at the most critical period in Cyprus' history since 1974, with ongoing talks to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and the island's imminent accession to the EU.

    The President said the government was aiming to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem within the next few months and to join the EU, but noted that finding a solution did not depend solely on the Greek Cypriots.

    "Finding a solution also depends on the Turkish side, which doesn't want to back down from its far fetched and unacceptable demands, which clash with UN Security Council resolutions," he said.

    Clerides said Turkey was trying to derail Cyprus EU accession with threats and blackmail, and noted that in the next few months Cyprus would face Turkey in the most critical diplomatic battle of the last 28 years.

    "Our strategy regarding the island's accession and the Cyprus problem has so far been correct," the President said.

    "For the first time in our history the international community and especially the EU have been taking an active part in trying to reach a viable solution."

    However, Clerides stressed the government could not afford to make even the tiniest mistake, as it could affect the island's future and the future of our children.

    "We need to make the correct calculations regarding the Turkish side's strategy and we have to continue to negotiate wisely and moderately," he said.

    The President pledged to dedicate the rest of his term in office to ensuring the course of negotiations could lead to a solution that would be in the best interests of Cyprus as a whole and of both communities on the island.

    "It is my greatest ambition finally to have the Cyprus problem resolved and to see Cyprus in the European Union," he said.

    The President expressed his gratitude and thanks to the Greek government for the valuable help they had offered, especially in diplomatic efforts for Cyprus' EU accession, and also expressed his gratitude to Greeks living abroad and foreign governments for their support.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Attack helicopters to make parade appearance?

    By a Staff Reporter

    CYPRUS today celebrates 42 years of independence from Britain, which will be marked by military parades and visits by Greek defence officials.

    The military parade is likely to feature an appearance by one of the National Guard's most potent weapons, the Russian-made Mil-Mi35 attack helicopters, which made their first appearance in July at the funeral of National Guard Commander Evangelos Florakis, who was killed in a helicopter crash.

    The helicopters were brought to Cyprus under a shroud of secrecy last year, although their presence on the island was an open secret. The Mil-Mi35 'Hind' is considered one of the most potent attack helicopters in service today. It is armoured and carries an array of weapons ranging from anti- tank missiles to rockets and heavy guns.

    Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos also hinted at the weekend that the National Guard might have even more new hardware to display at today's parade.

    The display of the helicopters and any new weaponry is likely to spark further threats from the Turkish side, in a week when the leaders of the two sides are travelling to New York to meet UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan for a review of the ongoing Cyprus talks, given impetus by Cyprus' nearing EU accession.

    Ankara has repeatedly threatened to annex the north of the island if Cyprus joins the EU without a solution.

    In an Independence Day message to President Glafcos Clerides, Greek President Constantinos Stephanopoulos yesterday pledged the island's accession to the EU was a national priority for Greece.

    He said Greece would not give up its efforts for a comprehensive settlement, based on UN resolutions.

    "I would like to point out, once more, Greece's continued and unlimited support to our fellow people of Cyprus, and assure you that we will not surrender efforts and determination until we achieve a comprehensive, just, permanent and viable solution to our national problem, based on UN decisions, which will secure the full respect of the human rights of all its people," he said.

    "I would like to reiterate that the Cyprus Republic's accession to the EU constitutes our prime national priority. The excellent progress Cyprus is making in the accession negotiations makes us certain that the Cyprus Republic will enter the European family, in which it belongs, to benefit the whole of its population".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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