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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-11

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

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


Friday, October 11, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] 'Even a single investor could create chaos'
  • [02] Rolandis to Egypt
  • [03] Scratch card sales on the rise
  • [04] Mayor demands impact study on flyovers
  • [05] Why didn't we by the UAVs?
  • [06] US Universities on show
  • [07] Two new landfills planned
  • [08] CY announces more fare cuts
  • [09] BP employees strike over job uncertainty
  • [10] New plan to tackle breast cancer head on
  • [11] Klerides: our economy is 'outstanding'
  • [12] Car scam offers a hard-learned lesson
  • [13] Central Bank lashes out at FT article
  • [14] Denktash discharged tomorrow
  • [15] Posthumous honour for Florakis

  • [01] 'Even a single investor could create chaos'

    By Jean Christou

    THE STOCK market hit a three-year low yesterday as bank shares plunged to new depths under heavy selling pressure.

    The all-share index fell 1.39 per cent, falling through to the wrong side of the 80-point mark to close at 79.3 points, while the FTSE/CySE blue chips index went under 300 points, less than one-third its original value, for the first time ever after a drop of 2.08 per cent. In November 1999 the index stood at a record 800 points and the FTSE, when it kicked off two years ago opened at 1,000 points.

    Bank of Cyprus (BOC) was the main victim of yesterday's bloodbath, shedding three cents to end at 1.06 while Laiki fell under the 1 barrier to close two cents down at 99 cents. Hellenic lost one cent to 0.66. Volume for the day ended at 677,000, 63 per cent of which was generated from trading in FTSE blue chips.

    According to the analyst on the xak.com website "the market is so fragile that a single investor could create havoc".

    "Shares of Lady BOC continue to be expelled from tonnes of portfolios with wrath and determination, as the large cap has been the focus of attention and the cause of the latest market meltdown," he said.

    According to the analyst, BOC, being the most liquid stock together with the other banks, is probably one of the most widely held positions.

    "It is also the largest stock in terms of capitalisation, so any price movements in the latter affect both indices dramatically. With such low volumes, if investor X decided to offload 100,000 shares of BOC, the latter would cause a dramatic drop. Because of the weight that the BOC maintains in the market, the drop in the bank's value is immediately reflected on both indices," he said.

    "Given that the banks usually drive the market, it is safe to assume that a sudden drop in the BOC would serve as a trigger for sell-out across the board. This domino effect in itself creates further fear and uncertainty, as fragile investors do not have the stamina or patience to go through further losses. Bottom line, the market is so flimsy and weak that almost anything can cause it to crush."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Rolandis to Egypt

    By a Staff Reporter

    COMMERCE, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis leaves for Cairo today to hold talks on energy matters with Egypt's Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy. Emphasis will be given to issues such as oil and the transportation, trade and export of the region's natural gas through a submarine pipe, a government announcement said yesterday.

    Cyprus is engaged in talks with Egypt concerning the exploitation of oil and natural gas deposits off their respective coasts. Rolandis will return to Cyprus on October 12.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Scratch card sales on the rise

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE STATE lottery will launch a new scratch-card 'Mr Bingo' on November 1, which will be officially announced within the next two weeks, the Finance Ministry said in a brief statement yesterday. Scratch card sales are expected to rise by 24 per cent this year. Lottery scratch card sales totaled 32 million in 2001, up from 26.5 million in 2000.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Mayor demands impact study on flyovers

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE MUNICIPALITY of Kato Polemedia in Limassol yesterday demanded an environmental study be carried out before roadworks begin to replace the municipality's five roundabouts with flyovers.

    The flyover concerning the municipality will lie between the Polemedia and Orphanides roundabouts

    Municipality mayor George Georgiou called for a six-month postponement of the scheduled road works due to begin at the end of this month; a period he deemed adequate to carry out an environmental studies that would assess what impact a flyover would have on the natural and structural environment. Georgiou said it had come to his attention that foreign experts had made changes to the initial flyover plans, which called for a closer look at the construction study.

    "Projects that are of the utmost importance and on such a grand scale (the flyover will be 1.5 kilometres long and is expected to cost 16 million) need to be preceded by studies that evaluate what consequences they could have on the environment and man," he said.

    "A well-rounded study must go beyond looking at an unfavourable situation and counterbalancing it against affected areas and residents."

    House Environment Committee Chairman George Lillikas also reportedly agreed with the proposal to carry out an environmental study before the construction works.

    But, Limassol mayor Demetris Kontides said: "The project is something we favour and must go ahead within the allocated timeframe so that the torturous traffic congestion problem at the suburban roundabouts is solved as soon as possible. We believe that all consequences that have come to light or will come to light during the course of the road works will be dealt with at the time."

    He added in a meeting held last month between local authorities and Communication and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou, Neophytou warned the mayors that tenders had to awarded to carry out the roadworks, otherwise the government was ready to abandon the project saving the state a cost of 60 million.

    Yesterday's meeting was requested by the five mayors affected by the proposed flyover and took place at the Communication Ministry, following demonstrations by Kato Polemedia residents.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Why didn't we by the UAVs?

    By George Psyllides

    THERE WERE no "political approaches" in the House Defence Committee's decision to reject the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from Israel, its chairman said yesterday.

    Yiannakis Omirou said the committee and the plenum had examined the proposals submitted by the Defence Ministry and the Tender Board and were "not satisfied that the UAVs fulfilled the expectations and technical specifications set and that was why they had a negative approach".

    Omirou denied there had been a political approach in the decision not to approve the UAVs.

    "Any other interpretation could lead to a disturbance in the relations of your country with any other third country".

    In contrast to Omirou's comments, Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos said the House had cited political reasons resulting in the exclusion of a specific country that had won the tender and is not participating in the new competition.

    Hasikos said the Defence Ministry concluded the initial tender but the House judged for political reasons that it did not want to purchase the specific system from this country.

    An Israeli company had won the tender but deputies reacted because of the military alliance between the neighbouring country and Turkey.

    Hasikos stressed that the system was very important for Cyprus and that a new tender procedure was underway. He added the technical committee should make its suggestions in 15 days so that the tender could be awarded.

    The minister said that the House judged for political reasons that it should exclude procurement of the particular system from the particular country adding that Cyprus was a democratic country and the distinction of authorities should be visible to avoid such interventions.

    Hasikos said the House could not define foreign policy arguing that that was clearly a matter for the executive.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] US Universities on show

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE FULBRIGHT Commission has announced that the fifth US University Fair would be taking place on Wednesday, October 16, at the J. William Fulbright Centre in the buffer zone.

    Twenty-six university representatives will be offering information and application forms while scholarship opportunities could be available.

    The fair will be open from 4 to 8pm.

    For further information contact Stella Zavallis or Revy Payiata at the Fulbright Commission, Tel. 22669757 extensions 23 and 24 respectively.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Two new landfills planned

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE GOVERNMENT is planning to create two new landfills, one in Paphos and one in Larnaca, Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou said yesterday.

    Speaking at a seminar for waste management organised by the British Council as part of its EU series, the Minister said that landfills at Kotsiatis and Vati would be upgraded, while others would be closed.

    The seminar comes a day after the EU Commission issued its progress report on the candidate countries, and cited waste management as "the most worrying issue in Cyprus" in terms of harmonisation. The report said that four year programme regarding closure or upgrading has been prepared.

    Expanding on the programme Panayiotou said the first stage involved the creation of the two new landfills, which would be operated in line with EU directives. He said that waste management was one of the most significant issues that Cyprus was facing within the harmonisation framework.

    "At the same time a comprehensive programme will be implemented fro gradually reducing the overall volume of waste for land filling through recycling, composting and incineration for producing energy," the Minister said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] CY announces more fare cuts

    By Jean Christou

    FROM MONDAY Cyprus Airways (CY) will be offering further fare reductions in addition to those already announced for London and Athens.

    While new fares for Thessalonica will be based on a similar system to those of Athens, around 50 per cent off certain flights, CY's other European destinations have been divided into zones.

    Zone A includes London, Manchester, Birmingham, Amsterdam and Paris with flights starting from 150 plus taxes. Night flights to Heathrow and all flights to Stanstead will start from 130 plus taxes. Pensioners' fares in zone A will cost 130 plus taxes for night flights and 140 plus taxes for regular flights.

    Zone B includes Brussels, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Zurich, Geneva, Milan, Rome and Moscow, which will have a special flat rate fare of 130 plus taxes and 125 plus taxes for pensioners.

    Zone C covers Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg and Warsaw with a reduced special rate of 110 plus taxes and the same for pensioners.

    Cut-price fares for Athens, announced last week apply to the 7am and 7pm daily flights. The 9.30am and 4pm flight fares will be slashed to 79 plus taxes. Pensioner fares will be priced at 70 across the board. The national carrier operates five flights to Athens daily and the usual fare is 139 plus taxes.

    Fares to Thessalonica will start at 99 plus taxes and at 89 plus taxes for pensioners, while the cost of a flight to Heraklion will be 69 plus taxes and 59 for those over 63.

    All of the new rates represent approximately a 50 per cent reduction but come with a barrage of restrictions. They are non refundable, although they may be upgraded at an extra charge, the airline said.

    The special fares only apply to seats left available after the higher-fare seats are sold. Higher-fare tickets carry fewer restrictions and are more flexible. The new fares will have to be paid for when the booking is made and require a three-day stopover at the specified destinations.

    The reduced fares will apply from October 14 to March 31 next year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] BP employees strike over job uncertainty

    By Jean Christou

    SOME 70 British Petroleum (BP) outlets and the central offices of the British petrol giant will be closed for two hours today due to a strike by employees uncertain over the company's future in Cyprus.

    The employees are worried over reports that BP is planning to sell out to an unnamed foreign company and fear for their jobs. The company's outlets will remain closed for two hours from 10am to 12pm, but the employees also warned that unless they are briefed as to the company's intentions, they will stage a 24-hour strike from Monday.

    Reports surfaced in August that BP was planning to sell-off its interest in Cyprus and a government source told the Cyprus Mail at the time that the British company was set to go and that it was close to striking a deal with a foreign company.

    It was understood however that BP would maintain its refuelling operations at the island's airports.

    The government said no deal could be struck with rival Exxon Mobil because it would create a monopoly on the island. Last year when Mobil merged with Esso, the former was forced to sell off 22 of its stations to BP and 16 to newcomer Russian company Lukoil in a deal worth 12 million. French giant Total Elf and the Greek Petroleum Refineries and Greek company Eco are reportedly in the picture.

    BP started business in Cyprus in 1982 and currently employs 64 people and reports suggest that BP's employees would simply be transferred to its successor if the company pulls out.

    Lukoil this week began rebranding outlets to its trademark logo in Nicosia and other areas following the July 1 deal with BP and Exxon Mobil.

    Lukoil's 16 stations will now give the company a six per cent share of the Cyprus market.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] New plan to tackle breast cancer head on

    By Alexia Saoulli

    A 'BLIND screening' breast cancer programme will be implemented as early as January 1 and yesterday had the support of the House Health Committee, said Health Minister Frixos Savvides. The cabinet had already approved a budget of 1.8 million to carry out the project, he added.

    "Blind screening means that all women between the ages of 50-65 will have mammograms, following European Union guidelines, irrespective of whether or not they are healthy. It will include the entire female population within that age group and is not based on women that are suspected of having breast cancer," he said.

    Cyprus Breast Cancer Movement (Europa Donna Cyprus) President Stella Kyriakides, likened breast cancer prevention as it stands in Cyprus today to "winning the lottery."

    "This early screening programme must adhere to all prescriptions such a programme demands and include all aspects involved in breast cancer diagnosis, from mammograms and breast tissue analysis to surgery," she said. "In order to reduce the number of deaths, we must follow all European directions to the letter in all aspects of preventions," Kyriakidou added.

    Although she expressed the hope that Cyprus would not be long in implementing this system of early diagnosis, she stressed: "If it is not implemented properly, it's better off not being implemented at all."

    Kyriakidou pointed out that a number of countries abroad had specialised x- ray prevention methods, trained breast surgeons and clinics specially equipped to deal with breast cancer and expressed the hope that Cyprus would be moving in the same direction.

    Following yesterday's House Committee, its Chairman Antonis Karas said it was keeping an eye on the programme, which it was most interested in promoting. "The House of Representatives will help the Health Ministry with the implementation of this programme," he said.

    DISY deputy Eleni Theocharous also added that countries that had adopted this early screening policy had reduced breast cancer deaths by up to 30 per cent.

    Savvides said the mammograms carried out would be done in the public sector and any laboratories in the private sector as long as they were fully equipped to carry out the procedure. But, he added, there were a number of private institutions that wanted the Ministry's guarantee that there would be a set number of women directed to them before they upgraded their facilities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Klerides: our economy is 'outstanding'

    By George Psyllides

    FINANCE MINISTER Takis Klerides yesterday said the economy's performance was outstanding but the greatest achievement was the anticipated successful completion of the EU accession negotiations.

    Speaking before plenum, where he presented the state budget for 2003, Klerides said the government expected to spend 3,080,900,000 while the income would reach 2,401,400,000.

    The deficit is expected to reach 679,500,000 compared to last year's 660, 300,000.

    Klerides said that based on forecasts made by international organisations, the island's external environment for 2003 would be favourable compared to last year. He added the uncertainty and the knock on effects of the measures against terrorism after September 11 were expected to weaken with positive effects on the economy.

    Klerides said that if the external environment improves as forecasted, growth rates are expected to rise to 4.3 per cent and unemployment to fluctuate around 3.2 per cent of the financially active population.

    The rate of inflation will hover around 4.1 per cent and would be contained at two per cent if the effects of the increases in VAT and consumer taxes were taken away, Klerides said.

    Public deficit is expected to decrease further, down to 2.1 per cent of the GDP, compared to 2.7 per cent for 2002.

    "The substantial decrease of the public deficit in the last four years to levels lower than those stipulated by the Mastricht Treaty is a very positive development," the minister said.

    Klerides said that despite the adverse conditions in 2002, the economy continued to grow with a positive rate estimated at 2.3 per cent.

    The minister said that the International Monetary Fund has recently downgraded its forecast concerning the EU growth rate for 2002, from 1.6 per cent to 1.1 per cent and from 2.9 per cent to 2.3 per cent for 2003.

    "The 2003 budget is permeated by the general philosophy and the strategic targets defined by the government's economic and social policy," Klerides said.

    The targets included in the two programmes were based on three pillars: "Growth, Competitiveness and Reform," the minister added.

    Klerides gave emphasis to the recent tax reforms and its positive effects on the economy and social welfare and stressed that the significant increase of tax-free income to 10,000, the reduction of income tax rates and the readjustment of corporate tax to 10 per cent for both local and offshore businesses was expected to boost the economy and enhance the role of Cyprus as an attractive international business centre.

    He said the government's policy aimed at maximising prosperity for the people through EU accession and expressed his confidence that Cypriots would fulfil their vision of freedom, prosperity and security.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Car scam offers a hard-learned lesson

    By George Psyllides

    FINANCE MINISTER Takis Klerides yesterday said the government was determined to enforce the law in the assembled cars scandal.

    The case emerged around a month ago when customs began seizing vehicles originally imported as spare parts, assembled and then sold on the island - depriving the state of millions of pounds in duties.

    The scam brought to the fore weaknesses in the legislation, which were exploited by the alleged perpetrators who had no problem registering the assembled vehicles.

    The main weakness is that insurance companies and owners are not obliged to tell the transport department if their car was written off.

    The main method used by those involved was to take the serial numbers of a wrecked vehicle and use them on the ones they assembled in order to get them registered.

    Klerides yesterday said the Transport Department was preparing various amendments to the law in order to close all the loopholes and prevent a repeat of the phenomenon.

    The minister added that authorities are co-operating with customs in other countries who gave them important information for the investigation.

    As for the number of cars involved in the case, customs officer Niki Hadgiyianni said yesterday that it was increasing on a daily basis.

    "We locate new cars every day and from those we have seized for investigation it is unfortunately determined that they are different cars and they have been re-assembled," Hadgiyianni said.

    She said there are several companies involved in the case without however being able to give an exact number since the investigation is ongoing and it is expected to take a long time.

    The scandal has taken huge proportions after a senior police officer was detained in connection with the case.

    The officer was apparently importing cars through a company registered under his daughter's name. She is currently studying abroad.

    A car mechanic is also in custody for the same case.

    Authorities allegedly found that he had been keeping a joint account with the officer, used for buying wrecked cars from abroad.

    Several Transport Department officials were also brought before court but they were released for lack of evidence.

    One of them, according to police, registered cars for the police officer without questions asked because they were old friends.

    It is thought that the scam could not have succeeded without the help of insiders, in the words of Communications Minister Averof Neophytou "Trojan horses".

    Former chief of police Andreas Angelides resigned as the scandal widened but three cars belonging to him and his son, which initially looked suspicious, were later cleared after they had been examined by customs.

    Former Justice Minister Nicos Koshis also resigned. Although his reasons were never disclosed, it is thought that the scam had nothing to do with it.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [13] Central Bank lashes out at FT article

    By Jean Christou

    THE CENTRAL Bank has hit back at a report in the Financial Times (FT) claiming that it is governed by a politician and run by 'unprofessionals'.

    In an article on the island's EU accession, the FT said concern remained about the strength of financial supervision, given Cyprus' ambition to expand its role as a financial services centre in the eastern Mediterranean.

    "The small and poorly regulated stock exchange is still struggling to recover from the collapse of a bubble market two years ago. Commercial banks have sharply increased provisions for loans taken out by small investors to play the market," the paper said.

    Referring to the Central Bank, it acknowledged its tightening of regulations covering the thousands of offshore companies registered in Cyprus, and in line with EU requirements, the bank has become independent of the government. "But it is headed by a politician from the governing political party and lacks a strong team of professional managers with international experience," the paper added.

    In a written statement, the Central Bank said the report "had nothing to do with reality".

    "Unfortunately it was not written in good faith and is neither impartial nor objective," the announcement said.

    It suggested the FT should take a look at reports from international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the Council of Europe and the EU, "which have assessed the work of central bank of Cyprus and whose reports are favourable".

    "Concerning the Governor and any state official, what is of importance is not the political area they come from but the way they do their job," the announcement said. The central bank is governed by former Finance and former Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, a senior member of ruling right-wing DISY.

    "In the five months since his appointment the governor of the Central Bank hasn't given anyone, in any case or circumstance, the chance to dispute his integrity, objectivity, and the way in which he does his job," the statement said.

    "In a nutshell it is sad why a newspaper of standard of the Financial Times published this thoughtless report which is not based on fact or objective reality and which gives the impression that it is based on prejudice and information submitted by third parties to serve their own purposes".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [14] Denktash discharged tomorrow

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH CYPRIOT leader Rauf Denktash, who underwent heart surgery in New York on Monday is expected to be discharged from hospital tomorrow.

    According to the Anatolia news agency, Denktash will then rest in his hotel for another week before returning to Cyprus.

    Anatolia said Denktash, who has been engaged in ongoing direct talks with President Glafcos Clerides since January, would not make any statement on Wednesday's recommendation by the European Parliament to include Cyprus in the next wave of EU enlargement, along with nine other countries.

    Denktash's undersecretary Ergun Olgun told Anatolia: "The most important thing is President Denktash's health at this point. Therefore, we do not discuss political issues with him."

    Olgun said that the 'TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs' would make a statement about the issue.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [15] Posthumous honour for Florakis

    By a Staff Reporter

    FIVE STREETS were yesterday named in honour of all five National Guardsmen killed in a tragic helicopter crash just outside Paphos in July.

    The dedication ceremony took place at 4pm yesterday outside Nicosia's Police Headquarters in Aglandja.

    An Aglandja Municipality spokesperson said the streets had been named after 59-year-old National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis, Greek National Air Force Commander Brigadier Stelios Demengas, 50, 30-year- old Greek Cypriot Naval Lieutenant Nicolas Georgiou and Flight Lieutenants Paris Athanassiades, 33, and Michalis Shiakallis, 26.

    "The street named after Evangelos Florakis is the strip that joins Kyrenia Avenue with RIK Avenue," he said. "Since it runs directly outside the National Guard Headquarters where he was stationed as chief, it was considered appropriate to name it after him."

    Until yesterday, all streets were unnamed.

    The ceremony started with a blessing and a short piece by a philharmonic choir. This was followed by one minute's silence and the national anthem.

    "The Mayor of Aglandja Andreas Petrou and new National Guard Commander Athanassios Nicolodemos then carried out the uncovering of the new street sign."

    The remaining four street names were uncovered within the police residences, near the Police and National Guard headquarters. These were also previously unnamed streets.

    The ceremony was attended by the victims' families, officials and members of the general public.

    An investigation into the fatal Bell helicopter crash determined a fire was the cause but the source of the blaze itself was never discovered.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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