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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-03

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Thursday, October 3, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Refugees stabbed in Limassol street-fight
  • [02] Now DISY insists CSE chief must go
  • [03] Major problems ahead for the social insurance fund
  • [04] Bird trappers call 'ceasefire'
  • [05] Plenty of water, but please don't waste it

  • [01] Refugees stabbed in Limassol street-fight

    A PALESTINIAN man was in a serious condition yesterday after being stabbed during a street-fight in Limassol between 40 Iraqis and five Palestinians.

    His condition is not described as life-threatening. Two more Palestinians are also recovering from similar injuries.

    Police said they were waiting for the three men to get better before questioning them about the incident.

    The brawl is reported to have started at 7.45pm on Tuesday outside an apartment block on Christodoulos Hadjipavlou Street.

    Around 40 Iraqis attacked the Palestinians because they thought they had given police information about three Iraqi men who had been arrested.

    Reports said the Iraqis used knives and broken bottles when they attacked the Palestinians who are on the island as political refugees.

    One of the men was stabbed twice in the stomach and once in the face, and another was injured in the thigh.

    The third man received wounds on his cheek that required 11 stitches, police said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Now DISY insists CSE chief must go

    By Alex Mita

    D.I.S.Y. yesterday joined DIKO and AKEL in demanding the immediate resignation of Cyprus Stock Exchange president Pavlos Savvides after allegations that he chaired a CSE-listed company that is currently under criminal investigation.

    In a CyBC radio interview yesterday DISY deputy Prodromos Prodromou, who is also on the House Finance Committee, said Savvides should not be head of the CSE while a criminal investigation was being conducted.

    "The fact that Mr Savvides was Chairman of a listed company currently under investigation has created an issue of order in the CSE, and he should no longer remain as its president," he said.

    "This is apart from further allegations that he was connected with a private stockbroking company that is thought to have been well-connected with listed companies even after he was appointed CSE president," Prodromou charged.

    "These are matters that have to be resolved, but the fact that he was an active member in a company which is facing charges of defrauding investors creates a serious issue. The wisest thing for him to do after the latest turn of events would be to resign."

    On Monday Finance Committee chairman Markos Kyprianou of DIKO and AKEL's Stavros Evagorou were the first to call for Savvides' resignation.

    "In ten years this might not be a big issue," Kyprianou said yesterday. "But the CSE has been under scrutiny for a long time and this sensitive issue cannot be overlooked."

    Finance Minister Takis Klerides defended Savvides yesterday, saying the CSE president had done nothing illegal. Klerides said Savvides had resigned from the companies before becoming a member of the CSE Board of Directors.

    But House Watchdog Committee Chairman Christos Pourgourides of DISY demanded yesterday that Savvides should still stand down on grounds of principle.

    "Government officials and persons of similar standing should resign if there is an investigation against them," Pourgourides said, speaking after a committee meeting. "This has nothing to do with him personally, it is purely a matter of principle.

    "There seems to be no end to the problems surrounding the Stock Exchange as an institution. There have been investigations into the CSE since 1999, and it's about time these investigations were resolved so the CSE can finally run smoothly."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Major problems ahead for the social insurance fund

    A LEADING researcher has predicted that the island's social insurance fund will face ever more serious problems, according to a newspaper report yesterday.

    Increasing demand on the fund because of continuous rises in pensions is cause for major concern, according to International Labour Office researcher Konrad Chichon.

    One of the fund's main problems is the national debt that has escalated at a terrifying rate, according to Alithia newspaper.

    In the year 2000 the national debt was 2 billion, the following year it rose by 222 million, this year it is 2 billion 453 million, and by next year it is expected to be just less than 3 billion.

    The newspaper said Chichon proposed that the government's contribution towards the social insurance fund be halved from four per cent to two percent, and that employers and employees make up the difference.

    Basic pensions should also be covered by the state budget and not the social insurance fund, he said. If this regulation were adopted the fund would be safe. But for this system to work, the state would have to find a way to cover the added financial burden.

    Chichon is reported to have said that raising VAT by one per cent could be one way of achieving this.

    He also suggested several long-term measures to protect the social insurance fund from collapsing, Alithia said. These included raising the age of retirement in stages from 63 to 65 to 67; investing part of the fund in the private sector and abolishing the unemployment benefits that civil servants, semi-government officials, local authority officials and banking employees enjoy for six months after they retire at the age of 60.

    Despite Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas' assurances that the fund is safe until the year 2020, Chichon is set to propose ways of regulating annual basic pensions and long-term methods of ensuring that the social insurance fund is able to meet the country's growing demands on its resources.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Bird trappers call 'ceasefire'

    By Alex Mita

    THE LARNACA district 'Committee for the Struggle' to lift a government ban on the illegal trapping of ambelopoulia yesterday announced it would no longer pursue the issue until after Cyprus' EU accession. But its members also warned they'd be back on the day we join the EU.

    Cyprus has come under strong international criticism ever since a recent study by BirdLife International said that more than eight million birds were killed in Cyprus each year by mist net and lime-stick trapping.

    But the government's compliance with demands that steps be taken and the strict measures they have adopted against the trappers have sparked fury among Larnaca district residents, who have demanded that ambelopoulia be excluded from the Berne Convention for protected migratory birds.

    The angry residents handed in more than 7,000 election booklets in an effort to have the trapping ban lifted, but Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou would have none of it. Now the residents have agreed to stop their protests "for the good of the country".

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Sotira Mukhtar Adamos Kaikis said spirits were now calm and that people were expected to vote in the upcoming elections.

    "They have realised that there is nothing they can do and that the government would not back down on its decision to clamp down on bird trapping," Kaikis said.

    He said the residents had been told in the past they could carry on trapping with lime-sticks as long as they stopped using special bird calling devices and mist nets, methods which have literally decimated migratory bird populations in recent years.

    "They didn't want to stop trapping with mist nets because they could get more birds to meet the demands of their businesses," he said.

    "Now they can't even trap birds with lime-sticks which was a traditional way of catching birds that could still be used today if they had listened in the first place."

    Kaikis said lime-sticking should not be banned because it does not have as great an impact on migratory bird populations as mist netting.

    "With mist nets, one can catch up to a hundred birds but with lime-sticks you catch a significantly fewer number," he said.

    "Lime-sticking should be allowed, but making a business of catching birds in order to sell them to restaurants is unacceptable."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Plenty of water, but please don't waste it

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE AGRICULTURE Minister yesterday urged the public to use water sparingly, despite higher than average rainfall over the past year.

    Costas Themistocleous said that between October 1, 2001, and September 30 this year precipitation had been 120 per cent.

    "This level of rain is unusually good for the period and is the best water flow we've had running into our dams in the past decade," he said.Water reserves for the year reached 168 million cubic metres, compared with just 60.5 million the previous year, he said.The Minister said reservoirs are 42.7 per cent full, containing 117 million cubic metres of water. Between October 2000 amd September 2001 they were only 9.2 per cent full, with 25 million cubic metres.Total rainfall percentages during the past 12 months were higher than normal in all areas, Themistocleous said. "November 2001 reached 113 per cent, December 221 per cent, and April 2002 was 159 per cent," he said. Only last February was lower than expected, with unusually low levels of rainfall at 66 per cent of average.

    The minister said the good news was that drinking water consumption needs had been met 100 per cent.

    "The public used 57 million cubic metres for their drinking needs and 66 million cubic metres or 70 per cent for irrigation needs."Referring to the new twelve-month period which began on Tuesday, October 1, Themistocleous said drinking water needs would again be met 100 per cent, while the amount of water allocated to irrigation would depend on this year's winter rainfall.He added that water levels in natural underground reservoirs had risen by an average of five metres, both on the Troodos mountain range and in auxiliary subterranean rivers.But despite the positive picture for October 2001 to September 2002, Themistocleous warned consumers that because of global weather changes water is sparse, "which is why we must be careful, use it conscientiously, and not waste it".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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