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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-15

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, October 15, 2002


  • [01] Why is our imported fruit so expensive?
  • [02] Few tickets for Man. Utd games
  • [03] Rolandis: gas pipeline option still valid
  • [04] President briefs National Council on talks
  • [05] Assault charges after police beating
  • [06] Cyprus praised by ECHR
  • [07] Pensioner dies in car accident
  • [08] University votes in new Rector
  • [09] Teachers in chain protest

  • [01] Why is our imported fruit so expensive?

    By Alexia Saoulli

    BY THE time it hits our shelves, imported fruit more than quadruples in price, reports said yesterday. This is despite the fact that it is imported at relatively low prices.

    According to a report in Politis yesterday, Limassol Port customs officials revealed that importers are forced to pay hefty duties on all products and are also burdened with a number of additional costs that drive up consumer prices up.

    According to Agriculture Ministry Director Antonis Constantinou, ever since the government signed the World Trade Organisation's General Agreement of Tariffs and Trades (GATT), the only fruit that was genuinely a lot more expensive than its original price were bananas.

    "All other imported fruit, such as apples, do not carry heavy duties." Whether importers decided to up their prices even more to make a profit was up to them, he said, since the market was now free.

    "And reports that importers are faced to pay a number of extra costs at customs before they can sell the fruit is news to me. The Agriculture, Health and Commerce Industries might carry out routine checks on merchandise, but this is done during working hours and at no added cost. Only if the importers want our employees to carry out checks during other times do they have to foot the bill and then that is up to them - not us - about how expensive importing their product becomes."

    He was referring to reports in Politis that over and above duty payments, importers had to pay a lot of procedural costs at the docks.

    As far as imported bananas were concerned, Constantinou agreed they were more expensive for the time being.

    "Local bananas cannot compare to Costa Rican bananas in size or in price," he said, explaining why their import duty was so steep. "If they were as cheap as local bananas to buy, we might as well stop producing our own because everyone would buy them.

    By offering local bananas for much cheaper prices, consumers have a choice and local producers are kept in business, he said. "But, by importing foreign bananas we have already started preparing our local producers for what is to come when we join the European Union and import duties are banned."

    Once we joined the EU, he added, banana producers would be subsidised the difference between local prices and international prices by the EU. "The government will also help them in some way, so they will not be forced into unemployment."

    But Consumers Association President, Petros Markou, said the government could only help up to a certain point.

    "They can be subsidised to a point, but unfortunately the EU has put certain limitations as to what extent. In other words, we as consumers have nothing to fear, it's the farmers who do."

    Besides, Constantinou pointed out, what consumers paid for in added imports for products they gained in tax: "The State has to help its local producers through the Agriculture Ministry. When you impose high duties, the extra money gained goes to them. It's not as if the government is making a profit from consumers. If on the other hand consumers were not paying high duty on products they would be taxed more, because the state would have to find some way of funding the farmers."

    Because farmers were worried about what the future would bring when Cyprus joins the EU in 2004, Markou said the agriculture industry would have to focus on quality and preference instead.

    "We will have to base our local agriculture industry on high quality produce and consumer preference because of it," he said. "And, another advantage is, we can produce some goods, like potatoes, during seasons that other European countries cannot, and so can focus on marketing them during those periods."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Few tickets for Man. Utd games

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THERE ARE only a few tickets available for Manchester United's Champions League game with Maccabi Haifa in Nicosia's GSP stadium on October 29, even though they only went on sale yesterday.

    Anyone wishing to see the Red Devils in Cyprus will have to move fast as limited seating remains. "Tickets went on sale at 10.00am this morning," said a stadium official, "but there are only a few left."

    Tickets for all three of Maccabi Haifa's 'home' matches have been available as a 45 package deal since September. The high take-up on the offer has resulted in only 14 seats remaining in the North Stand, next to the Manchester United travelling support. The stadium official confirmed that most of the 17 tickets in the East Stand had already been sold.

    Manchester United have taken up their allocation of 2,000 tickets while Maccabi Haifa expect to bring more than 10,000 of their supporters to the game. The sale of any remaining tickets is being limited to five per person with stadium officials expecting to announce a complete sell out for the 22, 000 capacity arena very shortly.

    Haifa enjoyed their first victory in the group stage in an almost packed house when they surprisingly beat Greek champions Olympiakos 3-0 last month.

    Although nobody expects them to repeat that feat against United, Haifa's cause could be aided if the Old Trafford outfit fielded a weakened team should they secure qualification and cement their status as group leaders with victory in Athens over Olympiakos on October 23.

    However, Haifa's slim prospects of progressing to the next group stage may well be effectively over on the same night unless they can produce a shock result against last year's finalists Bayer Leverkusen, who have already beaten the Israeli champions in this competition, 2-0 in Nicosia.

    Backed by manager Sir Alex Ferguson Haifa officials had pleaded with UEFA, Europeans football's governing body, to allow the tie with Manchester United to be played in Israel but had their request denied. UEFA ruled in March that all home games involving Israel's national team and clubs involved in European competitions had to be played outside Israel because of security concerns in the country.

    Security measures for the game will no doubt be extremely high, with police advising fans to arrive at the stadium early to allow body searches to be carried out on everybody before kick off.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Rolandis: gas pipeline option still valid

    By Soteris Charalambous

    COMMERCE AND Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis yesterday dismissed suggestions that plans to link Cyprus to a pipeline grid with its neighbours had ended. He added natural gas would be shipped and sea transportation was another option.

    "The pipeline option is still valid," said Rolandis, "but there is a problem."

    Since 1998 Rolandis has been working on plans to link Cyprus to a wider pipeline grid involving gas producer Egypt given the possibility of finding natural gas beneath the island's waters. Last year four Middle Eastern countries reached agreement on the construction of a $1billion pipeline joining Egypt with Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

    "As a long term option the pipeline is still a solid proposition given the possibility of finding our own natural gas," said Rolandis, "although other options are being considered."

    Rolandis added he was seeking guarantees from a major western European bank in the event gas is not available from the Cypriot end of the pipeline to compensate for the extra expense needed to use a more expensive alternative.

    Plans were mooted to link Cyprus to a pipeline grid connecting a number of Middle Eastern countries that would enable it to dispose of its own natural gas reserves under its seabed.

    It is understood the problem with the pipeline has arisen because construction at the Syrian end has not yet started due to funding constraints.

    Rolandis admitted that the question of gas transportation posed a number of complex problems that could be met in a several different ways. Shipping gas was the other option, although this is further complicated by deciding how the gas would be used.

    "There are five options, the first is the pipeline. The second is normal liquefied gas (LNG), the other is liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the fourth is a new technique with LNG using vessels that have an on-board a terminal to turn it back into gas. The fifth option is another new technique using compressed natural gas," explained Rolandis.

    The Minister refused to be drawn on the comparative costs of the different shipping options over pipeline transportation. "There are many factors affecting the relative cost such as pipeline width." The pipeline option would limit the options Cyprus had for buying natural gas from Syria, whereas with the shipping option a supply contract would go out to tender.

    Rolandis will meet with representatives of NEXANT, the American company charged with addressing the question of gas transportation for the island. Their findings will be used in the final proposal to be submitted by the Ministry to the Council of Ministers in November.

    Cyprus relies exclusively on oil in electricity production and has targeted 2006 to switch to cleaner forms of energy as part of its commitment of changes to gain entry to the European Union in the next phase of enlargement.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] President briefs National Council on talks

    PRESIDENT GLAFCOS Clerides yesterday briefed the National Council on his recent meetings in New York with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, as well as the European Commission's progress report on Cyprus, released on October 9.

    Speaking after the four-hour-long meeting of the National Council, made up of political party leaders, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said views were expressed mainly on the Cyprus problem and the two ad hoc committees set up at Kofi Annan's suggestion to deal with technical aspects of resolution.

    Papapetrou said that the National Council, top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem would reconvene on October 21, after President Clerides' talks in Athens with the Greek leadership.

    Clerides is flying to Athens on October 17 to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    He will return to Cyprus on October 19.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Assault charges after police beating

    By George Psyllides

    TWO FAMAGUSTA district men are expected to appear before court today in connection with assaulting and causing bodily harm to two police officers in the early hours of Sunday.

    The incident happened when officers carrying out routine alcohol tests on the Ayia Napa to Xylophagou road pulled the men over.

    The driver failed to take the test properly and the officers placed him under arrest.

    When one of the officers tried to handcuff the man, he pushed him out of the way and sped off in his car with his friend, taking the cuffs with him.

    Police chased them and managed to intercept them five minutes later in an open space near Liopetri.

    But the two suspects allegedly assaulted the officers, battering them with their hands and pieces of wood.

    The officers tried unsuccessfully to restrain the men using the necessary force.

    The men escaped, hurling stones and sticks at the patrol car.

    One of the police officers had to be treated in hospital for a dislocated shoulder while both suffered lacerations to various parts of their bodies.

    The men were arrested shortly before noon on Sunday but a court yesterday released them on bail until today when they are expected to be charged, among others, with assault and battery and causing bodily harm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Cyprus praised by ECHR

    THE PRESIDENT of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Luzius Wildhaber, said yesterday he was satisfied with the way the European Convention of Human Rights was applied in Cyprus.

    Speaking after meeting President Glafcos Clerides, Wildhaber said that after visiting the Supreme Court and its president: "I am very glad to see how seriously the European Convention of Human Rights is taken, how readily it is applied by the national courts here".

    "This is of extreme importance because we do depend on the national courts to do their job."

    The ECHR, he added, only comes in "as a last resort at the end, but basically human rights should be protected by the national authorities. I am gratified to see that this is absolutely the case and I was also reassured, seeing the President of the Republic."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Pensioner dies in car accident

    A 71-YEAR-OLD Limassol man was killed in a car accident over the weekend, police said yesterday.

    Giorgios Stylianou was trying to cross the road in Ayia Zoni on Sunday at 6.35pm, when an oncoming car knocked him over.

    The pensioner was rushed to Limassol General Hospital with cranial injuries and multiple fractures, said police. Despite doctors' attempts to save him, Stylianou died an hour later.

    The driver of the car was given an alcohol test and passed. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] University votes in new Rector

    Alexia Saoulli

    THE UNIVERSITY of Cyprus yesterday voted in its new Rector and two vice- Rectors for the next four years.

    The race for the establishment's key positron was a close one, with Professor of Public and Business Administration, Stavros Zenios, succeeding his opponent, Professor of Education and current vice-Rector, Andreas Demetriou, by only nine votes.

    The University's electorate was divided into three parts, including colleagues, students and administrative personnel. There were 248 voters in total; 180 academics, 57 student representatives made up of 13 different student council departments and 11 non-academics, a university officer told the Cyprus Mail.

    The ballots opened at 9am and closed at 1pm. Just under an hour later, Zenios was announced the new University Rector with 124 votes and Demetriou coming in close behind him after securing 115 votes. There was one void and eight blanks.

    Two candidates also stood for the position of Academic Affairs vice-Rector. Computer Science Professors Elpida Keravnou Papailiou and Christos Schizas. Schizas was also standing for the position of vice-Rector of International Relations, Finance and Administration as was Education Professor Giorgos Philippos.

    For the former position, Papailiou, was the successful candidate and the new vice-rector of International Relations, Finance an Administration is Schizas. All candidates hold their post for a period of four years.

    Yesterday's elections were the third since the University's foundation in 1989 and the first time administrative personnel were allowed to take part.

    Exactly four months ago former rector, Nicolas Papamichael, handed in his resignation after the Plenum granted students 33 per cent representation in university department councils.

    These councils were previously composed of academic staff and a fixed number of two student representatives and are responsible for making important decisions regarding the direction of the department, the curriculum it adopts and the staff it will hire. Papamichael condemned this extended percentage as excessive and blamed himself for being unable to deter the House in its decision.

    His resignation threw the University into crisis in June and nearly led to vice-Rector Demetriou's resignation as well. Yesterday's results will hopefully bring stability back to the higher education institution.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Teachers in chain protest

    OVER TWO dozen physical education teachers yesterday chained themselves to the gates of the Education Ministry.

    The teachers were demonstrating against the government's failure to appoint them in the public sector.

    An eyewitness told the Cyprus Mail at least 20 of the 30 or so demonstrators had chained themselves to the Ministry's gates.

    The university-trained PE teachers were demanding the Education Ministry implement a proposition made by the House Education Committee to place them in primary schools.

    According to one of their representatives, as reported on CyBC radio, the Ministry had failed to appoint 100 teachers in the public sector as it had promised it would in September.

    The teachers said this has been a problem for five years and threatened further action on a daily basis outside the Education Ministry if it was not resolved soon.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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