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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-22

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, October 22, 2002


  • [01] One more EU hurdle removed
  • [02] Relief as boy of nine emerges unscathed from joy ride in mum's car
  • [03] Seat belt use could slash road deaths by 25 a year
  • [04] Serbian minister's visit was private, Shambos insists
  • [05] Simitis plans final push to smooth way for Cyprus accession
  • [06] Second operation for Denktash in New York
  • [07] De Soto: there is no UN plan
  • [08] Haifa in for shock as 100,000 security bill confirmed
  • [09] New sewage system will cover 320,000 people
  • [10] Did relatives offer Archbishop's resignation for cash?
  • [11] Women only at Xylophagou coffeshop
  • [12] Remarketing feta as fetta is not an option

  • [01] One more EU hurdle removed

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS yesterday welcomed the Irish people's vote in favour of the Nice Treaty paving the way for European Union enlargement, saying it had brought the island's accession one step closer.

    Commenting on the results of Saturday's Irish referendum, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said in a written statement yesterday: "One more obstacle has been overcome and the final decision to be taken in Copenhagen is now closer to us.

    "We continue our efforts for accession firmly and earnestly, hoping that through our hard work and correct policy, Cyprus will soon realise its dream and become a member of the EU," he said.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides also has expressed satisfaction with the result of the referendum in Ireland, the second to be held after last year's vote resulted in victory for the 'no' camp.

    Speaking prior to his departure for Prague, where he will attend a meeting of the 10 candidate countries expected to conclude accession negotiations by the end of the year, Cassoulides said the road to enlargement now remained open.

    "An important obstacle on the path to enlargement has been removed. Now, the Treaty has been ratified by the 15 member states and so the road for enlargement is open," Cassoulides said. The Treaty would have lapsed had it not been ratified by all 15 member states by the end of the year, plunging the EU's enlargement plans into crisis.

    Cyprus Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou yesterday also welcomed the Irish 'yes' saying: "It is more significant than we imagine.

    ''It is not only the fact that the Irish people voted in their vast majority in favour of enlargement but it is also the fact that through this referendum the message sent to EU citizens is that enlargement is something that they want," Vassiliou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Relief as boy of nine emerges unscathed from joy ride in mum's car

    By a Staff Reporter

    A NINE-year-old boy and his sister yesterday came out unscathed after taking their mother's car for a drive around Larnaca, skipping three red lights and crashing into a travel agency on Makarios Avenue.

    According to the police, the boy found the keys on the automatic car parked outside their home and decided to take his sister for a spin. During their short ride, the duo went through three red lights, negotiated a roundabout and finally crashed into the travel agency because the boy's legs couldn't reach the brake pedals.

    The children's mother is expected to be prosecuted for negligence after leaving her keys on the car and not realizing her children had gone missing with it in a ride that could have resulted in tragedy.

    A police spokesman urged parents never to leave their keys on their car and their children unattended.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Seat belt use could slash road deaths by 25 a year

    By Jean Christou

    ONLY 45 - or 15.8 per cent - of the 284 people killed in car accidents in the last five years were wearing a seat belt, police said yesterday.

    The stark figure was released yesterday at the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of how seat belts can save lives.

    Quoting the shocking statistic, a written statement from police said: "It is believed that a large number of these people would be alive today if they had been wearing seat belts."

    Police estimate that if all drivers and passengers wore seat belts, between 20 and 25 lives could be saved every year, while and another 200 motorists could avoid serious injury.

    In an effort to improve road safety levels and to increase seat belt use to at least 95 per cent, police have acquired a seat belt simulator from the Czech Republic. The simulator was displayed to the public for the first time in Nicosia yesterday with the participation of Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou and Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zampelas, who are supporting the campaign,

    The simulator will remain in Cyprus for two months and will be on display at the annual motor show in November. In the meantime, it will be taken around Cyprus, demonstrating the effect of a seat belt under accident circumstances at just 30km per hour. Visits will be arranged at town squares, schools, army camps and colleges.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Serbian minister's visit was private, Shambos insists

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    JUSTICE Minister Alecos Shambos yesterday insisted a recent visit by his Serbian counterpart Vladan Batic had been private and unofficial, denying Yugoslav media reports to the contrary.

    On October 18, Politis reported that Batic had come to Cyprus for personal reasons on an unofficial visit. The next day, Belgrade newspaper Politika quoted Batic as denying these claims to the Yugoslav Beta news agency. He was quoted as saying that Politis' allegations were a result of "political fighting and turmoil" in Cyprus. According to Politika, Batic stressed that his visit had been announced with an official letter to the Cyprus Embassy in Yugoslavia. He was reported as saying that Central Bank Governor Christodoulos Christodoulou and Justice Minister Shambos had received him "frankly, open-heartedly and correctly" and that he had delivered them written demands for clarification of the destiny of Yugoslav funds in Cyprus.

    But Shambos told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that someone, not from the embassy, had contacted his ministry to say Batic was on a private visit to the island and would like to pay a courtesy call to the minister, which he accepted.

    "We were never informed as a government that we would have an official visit from Serbia," said Siambos. Their discussion remained of a general nature concerning the respective ministries and possible future co- operation but nothing specific was considered, he said. Regarding a possible visit to Yugoslavia, Shambos said that such a trip would be welcomed once his ministry received an official invitation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Simitis plans final push to smooth way for Cyprus accession

    By a Staff Reporter

    GREECE said yesterday it would step up its efforts to ensure a smooth entry to the European Union for Cyprus, warning a series of outstanding problems could still derail accession procedures.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will tour European capitals in November and December in an effort to pave the way for the accession of Cyprus, a government spokesman said.

    "There are a series of problems in front of us," spokesman Christos Protopapas told reporters, a day after the EU overcame its biggest hurdle for enlargement when Ireland voted in favour of expansion.

    "We must work to avoid these problems from appearing... so as to prepare well for the crucial hour," he said, referring to the EU summit in December expected to ratify Cyprus as a new member and set a date for joining.

    Greece, which has long pushed for the island's accession, has hinted it will block EU expansion if Cyprus is left out.

    Brussels has said it will admit Cyprus with or without a settlement, but Turkey, another EU hopeful, has threatened to annex the occupied areas if Cyprus joins the EU without a peace deal in place.

    General elections in Turkey on November 3, the poor health of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and a rumoured United Nations peace proposal on Cyprus to be presented soon are factors that could influence the EU's decision, Protopapas said.

    Simitis is due to meet European leaders including French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to discuss Cyprus and EU enlargement.

    EU leaders are expected to agree in December that Cyprus and nine other countries can join the 15-nation bloc in 2004.

    But UN-brokered talks to clinch a deal between Greek and Turkish Cypriots before the summit in Copenhagen have failed to show progress.

    UNSecretary-General Kofi Annan, who met the two Cypriot leaders in New York in early October, is expected to submit a draft peace plan by mid-November.

    Denktash, 78, underwent heart surgery earlier this month in the United States and a follow-up operation was carried out at the weekend. A statement from New York's Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center said Denktash was "resting comfortably and is in a stable condition".

    He and President Glafcos Clerides had been due to return to the negotiating table in mid-October in a last bid to reunite the island before the EU announces an entry date for the internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Second operation for Denktash in New York

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday briefed members of the National Council on discussions held in Athens last week and on the state of the Cyprus talks, as Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash underwent a second operation to prevent complications resulting from his heart surgery in New York earlier this month..

    The talks have come to a standstill following Denktash's heart operation on October 7, although special working committees for both sides were due to continue with certain technical aspects of the negotiations.

    Speaking after the National Council meeting, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the tabling of a solution plan by the UN at the direct talks depended on many factors, including Denktash's state of health. "The submission or not of any plan depends on many factors and I believe that one of these factors which will be taken into consideration is whether the other side is ready to negotiate," he added.

    Denktash, 78, underwent a new operation late on Sunday. His discharge from hospital after the earlier heart operation had already been postponed from Saturday because of breathing difficulties, described as "normal" by his doctors.

    New York's Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre yesterday confirmed the Turkish Cypriot leader had undergone the follow-up operation.

    "(He) underwent follow-up exploratory surgery on Sunday," hospital spokesman Bryan Dotson said in a statement. The statement added that he was "resting comfortably and is in stable condition."

    The hospital declined to give further information.

    But Turkish Cypriot media reported that Sunday's surgery had been performed because doctors felt the need to intervene to prevent a possible complication, and that the operation, which is not related to the heart, was successful

    Denktash's adviser Ergun Olgun was quoted as saying that the new operation, "lasting two-and-a-half hours", was aimed at rectifying "certain complications", and focused on the stitched wound in the chest from the previous operation to repair a heart valve. Denktash is expected to remain in intensive care for another two to three days. Olgun added that Denktash's wife and daughter had visited him in the intensive care unit.

    Asked to comment on the delay in the work of the ad hoc technical committees, Papapetrou said: "The Greek Cypriot side was ready to work within the committee and it has no responsibility for the non functioning of the committees."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] De Soto: there is no UN plan

    By a Staff Reporter

    U.N. SPECIAL envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto last night dismissed reports that the UN was about to put forward a plan for a solution to the Cyprus problem that favoured the Turkish Cypriot side's position.

    Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, De Soto, who has just returned from Ankara and leaves for Athens today, said: "There is no UN plan, no plan has been unfurled or unfolded."

    Asked by journalists if he believed the Turkish side was ready to discuss a final solution plan, the UN official said his discussions in Turkey had taken place in a businesslike atmosphere and were very serious. "These consultations will continue, we are not yet at the end of the game," De Soto said.

    His comments came after mainland Turkish paper Hurriyet reported at the the weekend that the UN was preparing to submit a new solution package to the sides in Cyprus after the November 3 elections in Turkey.

    The paper claimed the new system envisaged a parliamentary regime with a 'three-state' structure, and granted citizenship to Turkish settlers. The package was closer to the position of the Turkish Cypriot side, it added.

    The package, which the paper said had been submitted to EU officials in Brussels and would be guaranteed by the EU, would be submitted to the sides on a 'take-it-or-leave-it' principle.

    The Greek Cypriot side's rejection of the package would cost it its EU membership, while new sanctions would be imposed on the Turkish Cypriot side in the event it refused the plan, Hurriyet claimed.

    It said the plan was largely based on the Belgian model and would neither be a confederation, as desired by the Turkish Cypriot side nor a federation, which is what the Greek Cypriot side wants in line with UN resolutions.

    The system would be based on a multi-dimensional sovereignty system. The two 'wing' states would be granted internal sovereignty rights while international sovereignty would be transferred to a joint central state.

    The responsibilities of the joint state would be limited to issues such as the EU, foreign affairs, defence and the economy. The administrative system would be on the basis of a parliamentary regime and the presidential system would be preserved on a symbolic and rotational basis.

    Hurriyet said the 'wing' states would have their own prime ministers and assemblies, as would the joint state. In the joint state, there would be a lower House, based on the proportion of the two sides' populations, as well as an upper House in which the two states would be equally represented. Decisions adopted in the lower House would not be valid unless approved by the upper House.

    The plan also said Turkish settlers would not be sent back but become citizens of the new joint state, according to the paper. The rights of settlement, movement, and property acquisition would for the first 10 years be limited for the Greek Cypriots in the north. After that, they would be allowed to settle to a density no greater than 10 per cent of the Turkish Cypriot population.

    Each state would be able to establish ties and conclude agreements with third states in fields such as culture and trade, independently of the joint state and without the need for its approval.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Haifa in for shock as 100,000 security bill confirmed

    By Soteris Charalambous

    ISRAELI football club Maccabi Haifa is almost certain to seek an alternative venue for future European fixtures after an insider at the Cyprus Football Federation (CFF) confirmed that it had received a bill from the police 'very close to 100,000' for security at the Champions League game with Olympiakos Piraeus.

    After successfully negotiating the qualifying stages Haifa chose to continue to stage their 'home' games in the Champions League group stage at Nicosia's GSP stadium after UEFA, European Football's governing body, ordered all games involving Israel's national team or teams in European competition to be played outside the country because of security concerns.

    When asked to confirm the six-figure security bill, Haifa's general manager Itamar Chizik said he had not received any, adding that he had received a bill for 40,000 but that the six-figure sum "sounded way too high." He also suggested that the club would seek alternative venues if it was no longer viable to use the GSP.

    Given the unusual situation of playing 'home' ties outside their own country, a specific protocol was introduced for billing costs of the game that may have resulted in Haifa not having yet received the policing bill.

    According to the Head of the GSP Phivos Constantinides, police produce a bill following each match, which is sent to the CFF. This is then passed on to the Israeli football association before it finally reaches Haifa.

    Asked to comment on the security measures taken for the matches, Chizik said, "We are guests in Cyprus, and we are not in a position to tell other people how to run their security operations."

    He added, "However, we in Israel are very experienced in security arrangements, and I am not aware of costs ever reaching such levels in our country. And if we are treated as residents and asked to pay income tax, VAT and municipality tax why are we also required to pay for security?"

    For Haifa's matches in Cyprus, helicopters fly over and around the area on match days and 'severe' body searches are carried on all those entering the stadium, while more than 1,000 officers have been used for each of the group matches.

    Although he accepted that the Israeli club represented a greatly increased risk, even Constantinides was surprised at the figures quoted for security.

    "The cost of policing over 250 first division games in Cyprus amounts to 750,000, in comparison to 100,000 for one game that seems an awful lot."

    Given the situation, Constantinides has written to President Glafcos Clerides to ask for a clarification of policy on foreign teams playing in Cyprus.

    "I have asked the President and his cabinet to make a decision on foreign teams playing in Cyprus. If we truly want to promote this type of sports tourism we have to implement a general policy that will make Cyprus an attractive destination for them. We have to make people come here, not go," said Constantinides. "Cyprus benefits by staging games here, it showcases the stadium as a venue, and provides a boost to the economy."

    Chizik pointed out that the total cost of staging Maccabi's games in either Bulgaria or Romania would have been less than $10,000 (compared to $180,000 per game in Cyprus) and that Turkey had offered to host the games for free. However, Constantinides was keen to point out that at the first two venues Haifa would have had to spend more money bringing the stadiums up to UEFA standards.

    Although UEFA rules state that a club must play all its home matches at the same venue throughout the competition, Haifa seem certain to seek permission from UEFA to play elsewhere if it qualifies. Should they make it to the second group stage or if they drop into the UEFA Cup competition by finishing third in their group, the likeliest alternative venue would be Florence, Italy. The stadium there would meet all UEFA requirements and its club, Fiorentina, was demoted two divisions because of their poor financial situation and would greatly welcome any extra revenue.

    A source close to Haifa confirmed that Florence would be pursued as alternative destination should the club's involvement in European competition continue, adding, "If the Cypriot authorities don't want us to play in their country they can tell us to our face, they don't have to do it through the bill.

    "It must be nice to have security exercises on that scale paid for by somebody else."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] New sewage system will cover 320,000 people

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    NICOSIA Mayor Michalakis Zampelas estimates that around 320,000 people, almost half the island's population, will be connected to a central sewage system by 2010 as part of a 150 million sewage project for the greater Nicosia area, as details of the municipality's comprehensive plan for the capital's sewage system were announced yesterday.

    Work began on a central sewage system in the 1970s, eventually reaching central Nicosia and parts of Ayios Dometios and Strovolos, providing sewage facilities for 80,000 residents. In 1999, the decision was taken to expand the sewage project to cover the outer Nicosia area, connecting another 240, 000 people.

    The massive project will entail the laying down of 850km of central pipes to connect every household to a central sewage system, creating six large and other small pipe stations, upgrading the existing treatment plant in Anthoupolis and building a new one at Vathia Gonia.

    Construction begins next year and is estimated to take eight years for completion. Zampelas noted that the 150 million price tag would likely increase as the project progressed, adding that the main source of funding was coming from foreign loans; 58 million from the Development Bank of the Council of Europe and 60 million from the European Investment Bank.

    The project involves the excavation of every road in the greater Nicosia region, connecting all buildings to a pipe station through underground central pipes. Work will be done in stages in each part of the capital, starting with designated 'priority' roads. The treatment plants are scheduled to finish by 2006, while the whole project is in line for 2010.

    The charges levied on each household come in three forms. The first will be a yearly sum charged over the next 18 years, calculated at 0.3 per cent of the house value in 1980. "If a house had a value of 20,000 in 1980, the household owner will pay an annual charge of 60 for the next 18 years," said Zampelas, adding that the average annual charge for greater Nicosia was approximately 48. The second charge covers a small fee based on water consumption, which comes to about 1.60 every two months and gets added to the water bill. The one-off cost of the household connection and other linkages within private property will be borne by the owner. The sum varies according to distances and number of sewage pits that exist for each building but the average cost will be around 500.

    The mayor highlighted that the benefits gained in terms of health and environment greatly outweighed the cost to each citizen, adding that sewage removal already cost a considerable sum for households where the absorption of sewage from sewage pits was not feasible.

    The mayor outlined other advantages of the project: "It will put an end to pollution of the subsoil and underground water from private sceptic tank leakages. Also, the new treatment plant will enable water to be recycled for agricultural purposes as well as for the enrichment of underground water sources. But most importantly, it will protect the physical environment and quality of life in our city and undoubtedly contribute to improving our standard of living."

    Construction will begin after the Christmas holidays, Zampelas said, while residents will be given a two-month extension for the first annual payment of the property-based sewage charge.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Did relatives offer Archbishop's resignation for cash?

    By a Staff Reporter

    IN A further twist to the Church saga, Politis reported yesterday that relatives of the Archbishop Chrysostomos had offered the Bishop of Paphos a resignation letter from the primate in exchange for cash.

    About two weeks ago, close relatives of the archbishop approached the Bishop of Paphos through a third party, offering him the archbishop's resignation letter in return for monetary compensation, Politis claimed. Various sources were quoted reporting the mediator as asking, "How much will you pay if I bring in the resignation letter?"

    The bishop, in a fit of rage, guided the intermediary to the door.

    When Politis called the Bishop to confirm or deny the report, he allegedly replied "Such things are not spoken".

    Accusations against the close family of the primate have been rife ever since his health started to falter. Health Minister Frixos Savvides has previously charged family members with 'kidnapping' Chrysostomos from the state hospital in Athens where he was being treated for a fall and transferring him to a private clinic.

    Savvides who is now in charge of the welfare and recovery of the primate, told Politis that doctors from Britain and Greece were expected to arrive in Cyprus shortly to evaluate the health of the archbishop and the possibility of his returning to work.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Women only at Xylophagou coffeshop

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE FIRST women-only coffeeshop on the island, To Sinapantima, opened yesterday in Xylophagou, in a blow for the fairer sex against the traditional male bastions.

    Owner Eleni Mouzourou told the Cyprus Mail she had promised to do something for the women of the village if she was elected onto the village council.

    "I promised the women of the village to give them something that would be theirs exclusively," she said.

    "Now they have their own place where they can sit and have their Turkish coffee and play their tavli and pilotta without having any men around them."

    However, Mouzourou said the men of the village had taken the idea with a pinch of salt and so she agreed to let them have a coffee at To Sinapantima for the one and only time ever this Friday.

    "Some joked but now we have women from the age of 10 to 80," she said. "We even had women coming from other villages in the area."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Remarketing feta as fetta is not an option

    By a Staff Reporter

    A CHEESE manufacturer yesterday denied that efforts were being made to have locally produced feta cheese exempt from a production ban outside specific regions of Greece by adding an extra "t" in its spelling.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday the manufacturer said the story published by Alithia was not true.

    "We cannot have the product exempt by adding an extra "t" in its spelling," he said.

    "We will just have to find another name for it," he said, adding that the name of the cheese would be revealed next week.

    Greece won the feta cheese war last week after the European Union declared that feta cheese could only be named feta if it was produced in certain specified areas of Greece. The move means that Denmark, and even Crete and Cyprus, would now have to either stop producing the cheese or find another name for it within the next five years.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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