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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 24, 2002


  • [01] Schoolgirl arrested after three girls kidnapped and beaten
  • [02] Greece confirms it could cancel Nikiforos
  • [03] Top surgeon warns Denktash probably needs several months to recover
  • [04] Technical committees will await Denktash's recovery
  • [05] Tram network could be the answer to growing congestion
  • [06] Bilingual signs would simply have been too big
  • [07] Police probe theft claims from Archbishop
  • [08] Omirou wins vote for presidential candidacy

  • [01] Schoolgirl arrested after three girls kidnapped and beaten

    By Alex Mita

    A 17-YEAR-old schoolgirl from Limassol was yesterday arrested on suspicion of taking part in the kidnapping, assault and robbery of three 15-year-old girls.

    According to police, the 15-year-olds claimed four young women had forced them into their car and driven them to a remote location outside the Ypsonas industrial area.

    The three girls claim their assailants tied them to electricity pylons and beat them. The kidnappers then allegedly pulled out knives and asked the girls to hand over a mobile phone worth 120 as well as a packet of cigarettes and 5.

    The girls claimed two of them were left tied to the electricity pylons while their friend was dropped off at Zakaki.

    The 15-year-olds managed to untie themselves and hitched a ride to Limassol where they reported the incident to the police.

    After examining the girls, State Pathologist Sofoclis Sofocleous said they carried bruises and scratches all over their bodies.

    On the basis of the girl's statements, police arrested the 17-year-old, who is reported to have admitted taking part in the attack and named the three other girls who were with her.

    Limassol police superintendent Theodoros Stylianou told CyBC the attack appeared to have been motivated be a relationship one of the victims is alleged to have had with the boyfriend of one of the attackers.

    Stylianou said police had gathered enough evidence for the arrest of the other three young women wanted in connection with the attack.

    He expressed concern at the increase in crimes by juveniles, adding cases involving teenagers should alarm parents, schools and government.

    However, despite the rise in juvenile crime, Stylianou said crime in Limassol had decreased by 15 per cent on last year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Greece confirms it could cancel Nikiforos

    GREECE said yesterday it was considering cancelling Nikiforos, its annual joint military exercise with Cyprus, to ease tension during negotiations over the island's future and its plans to join the European Union.

    Greece plans to hold the Nikiforos-Toxotis sea, air and land exercise between October 31 and November 4. The exercise routinely raises tensions with Turkey.

    Greece said it would cancel the war games only if Turkey called off its own Taurus exercises scheduled for the same time in northern Cyprus.

    "It is an issue we are discussing to defuse tension in relation to Turkey and Cyprus," Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis told reporters.

    "We have every interest to contribute to a peaceful climate in Cyprus, it's a move of responsibility. But the exercise will take place as scheduled if there's no positive response from the other side," Beglitis said.

    He said Athens had discussed the issue with the Cypriot government, a frontrunner for EU membership.

    EU leaders will set a date for Cyprus' membership in December but Turkey has threatened to annex the occupied north if a divided island joins.

    The United Nations is trying to hammer out a settlement before December, but nine months of direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have made little progress. Denktash is currently in New York being treated for a heart ailment, which has held up the peace process.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Top surgeon warns Denktash probably needs several months to recover

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash needs at least three to four months' recovery and is not yet safe from further complications, a leading Nicosia heart specialist said yesterday.

    Denktash, 78, underwent surgery on a valve in his heart on October 7, but complications arose necessitating a second operation last Sunday.

    Dr Marinos Soteriou, a surgeon at the American Heart Centre in Nicosia, told the Cyprus Mail that the second operation, which also required invasive surgery, was high risk and would set back his recovery "to the point where he won't be able to return to being politically active for another three of four months".

    "There is also a good chance he could develop further complications," Soteriou said. "And basically the results of this operation will not be known for another week or so. if it is healing well and there is no infection and if the bone is holding well. The bottom line is that he is in a better situation than he was before the second operation, but he still has a significant chance of further complications due to the domino effect. One thing can bring on the other. He is at risk. The risk is less than it was before the second operation but there is still is a non-negligible chance for further complications."

    Soteriou said that the fact Denktash was over 75 alone put him in a higher risk category, "then he is diabetic, additionally he had a previous angioplasty and he also had valve disease, which is pretty significant".

    "Valve surgery on its own has risks that are much higher than bypass surgery," he said. "If you combine the fact that he is overweight and over age and having valve surgery, these all combined increase chances for complications and mortality."

    Soteriou said that when the valve surgery was carried out, doctors would have had to cut through the sternum (breast bone) to reach the heart. Following the operation, the sternum is then stitched up with stainless steel wiring.

    "But sometimes when the patient is very heavy when you try to lift them out of bed or when he tries to lift himself out of bed, he can exercise so much tension on the wires that they can cut through the bone, especially someone of advanced age who's bone is osteoporotic," Soteriou said. "These factors led to the complications, which led to the need for re-exploration and stabilisation of the bone, because if you leave a sternum unstable after an operation you can cause serious chronic pain and infection so it needed to be restabilised."

    It was not something that could have been avoided and can occur in around one per cent of such cases, he said, adding that in Denktash's case it was not surprising.

    He said what surgeons would have done in the second operation was to put more wiring in the sternum. They also in this case moved the pectoral muscle and the vessel supplying it with blood, in the area where healing was needed "so that the area could be supplied with healthy tissue to improve the healing process ".

    "They did not transplant his muscle as reported in the media," Soteriou added. "I've heard so much rubbish on the news lately about Denktash's health from people who never bothered to look into the details."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Technical committees will await Denktash's recovery

    THE TWO bi-communal committees on technical matters, set up in an effort to spur on the stalled UN-led peace talks while Rauf Denktash is in hospital, will not get into action until the Turkish Cypriot leader recovers, his adviser Ergun Olgun told the Cyprus News Agency yesterday.

    Olgun, who is with the Turkish Cypriot leader in New York, said that Denktash, who underwent two rounds of surgery at the Presbyterian University Clinic of Columbia, was not being briefed on political news and "is cut off from the rest of the world" on doctors' advice.

    He said the Turkish Cypriot leader, who is recovering from a second follow- up operation on Sunday, "is in good condition and his vital functions are normal."

    Asked to say when the Cyprus talks could resume, Denktash's aide said that doctors had said that from the day of the first operation Denktash was under strict orders not to get engaged in his official duty for eight weeks.

    "This is the usual period they give. So that stands, and that schedule has not been changed. He had the operation on the 7th," Olgun, added. He also clarified that the second operation had had nothing to do with Denktash's heart.

    "It was the stitches that had snapped and they caused bleeding and that could cause an infection. In order to prevent that from happening there is a daily check and the scan showed that there was snapping. They immediately intervened and fitted it up again," he added.

    Asked whether doctors though Denktash would be out of hospital soon or if there would be a big delay, Olgun said: "No, they do not expect a big delay, unless of course something unexpected comes up. But this is the second day of the operation and everything seems normal at this time."

    Olgun also noted that he received all the messages for the Turkish Cypriot leader, but did not share them with him. He also revealed that President Glafcos Clerides had called Denktash after the first operation.

    "At this moment there is still some kind of ban in his room so he cannot receive telephone calls, but as soon as he gets better I am sure that he is going to talk with Mr. Clerides," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Tram network could be the answer to growing congestion

    By Jean Christou

    NICOSIA could have its own trams if government studies into the possibility find that it is feasible, Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou said yesterday.

    The Minister put the proposal to the House Finance Committee, saying it would be a suitable answer to the city's traffic congestion problems. Neophytou said a tram system would need to cover some 40 kilometres if it were to work in the capital and that the cost would be in the region of 300-400 million.

    He said the traffic problems in Nicosia were growing and that something had to be done, adding it would be an historic decision if such a proposal were to become a reality.

    "Basically, we decided to have a comprehensive study on the possibility of having trams, because it seems to be the only possible solution for the big problem of traffic congestion in Nicosia," he said. "Hours are lost every day, not to mention the stress, the pollution and the anger."

    He said the tram system could become a reality now with the pre-accession aid from the EU.

    He said the government was working in close co-operation with local authorities in the capital and that a study for a pilot tram scheme would go along with another one carried out by the government on traffic problems in the city.

    "We are talking about a cost of eight to ten million per kilometre," the Minister said. "So to conclude a network of 30-40 trams would cost a few hundred million."

    He said a private firm had already shown a keen interest and was willing to take on the construction and operation of the trams.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Bilingual signs would simply have been too big

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    SIGNPOSTS sprouting up in strategic positions in central Nicosia will only have Greek writing to direct motorists to the entry points of the old city and its central parking facilities, preventing tourists from enjoying their benefit.

    Co-ordinator of the Master Plan for Nicosia, Makis Nicolaides, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that specific standards existed for signboards in the city. "If we wanted to put two or three languages on the board we would have had to make the signs much bigger or the letters much smaller, both of which are unfeasible. So, we decided to use only Greek, otherwise the boards would take huge proportions," he said.

    He explained that the nature of the city's infrastructure would not allow for big signs to be placed in informative positions of strategic importance. "Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of big spaces," said Nicolaides.

    The signs are part of a series of measures under way to revive old Nicosia within the walls. The municipality has already begun the installation of electronic helpers at eight points of entry to the old city. Electronic signs will display at any given time the number of parking spaces available in each of the municipal parking lots in the area.

    The system will serve to inform the motorist entering the city how many parking spaces are available and where.

    As part of the new measures, bright yellow arrows and gravelled lines have been placed on roads indicating the direction to various parking sites while arrows direct the driver through the easiest route out of the old city.

    Nicolaides highlighted that it was the first time such a project had been undertaken. "We will see how well it works," he said. "Already, we have learned that putting the letter 'P' on the road - in blue - will lead some to believe you can park in the middle of the road."

    He did not dismiss the possibility of adding other languages on the electronic road signs in the future.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Police probe theft claims from Archbishop

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    POLICE are investigating claims by the Archbishop's brother, Elias Aristodemou, that members of his family had stolen paintings and other valuable items from the room of Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    Police press officer Christakis Katsikides confirmed yesterday that an investigation was under way, without giving further details. "Police are investigating a report filed by a relative of the Archbishop of alleged theft of pictures and other items from the Archbishop's room. After the charge was made, the police came into contact with officers of the Archbishopric and asked for their help in investigating the possibility of theft," Katsikides told CyBC radio.

    He said the police would proceed accordingly, once a report had come from the officers who are permanently stationed at the primate's residence on the status of the Church leader's property.

    "Examinations have already begun with the help of those officers. I don't believe there will be time for a cover-up. If there is a case of theft, I am pretty sure no officer of the Archbishopric would want to hide it," said Katsikides.

    Bishop of Paphos Chrysostomos expressed his concern at the turn of events, suggesting a change of guard at the Archbishopric and the imposition of a strict timetable for visiting relatives.

    "Of course I am concerned by the lack of cohesion at the Archbishopric, which makes it easier for such things to happen. The Church hierarchy there could order a change of guard, taking into consideration that over the years the officers have created a bond with the people and relatives there, " he said. "If it was up to me, I would ask the chief of police to change the guard so that nobody knows anyone, and impose strict guidelines on visiting hours so that relatives can visit the Archbishop without causing difficulties."

    Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos suggested that the two bishops responsible for running the Archbishopric, Bishop of Salaminos, Varnavas, and Bishop of Trymithoundos, Vassilios, should work together to stop unregulated access to the quarters of the primate. "An inventory of his things should have been made from the start so that we wouldn't reach such tragic circumstances where charges are made that items from the Archbishop's room have been removed," he said.

    According to Chrysostomos, the room had been opened to make necessary preparations for the return of the Church leader who was undergoing treatment abroad. "A firm hand was not shown at a time when certain relatives of the archbishop were acting like they had run of the place."

    Items in the room include presents from patriarchs and archbishops to Archbishop Chrysostomos on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as leader of the Church of Cyprus. Chrysostomos made reference to three golden amulets given to the primate on the occasion, valued at a total of 7,500.

    Meanwhile, the Archbishopric announced on Tuesday that the recent removal of items from the archbishop's room was a result of a spring-cleaning session under the watchful eye of Bishop Vassilios, denying any claims of looting of property.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Omirou wins vote for presidential candidacy

    By Soteris Charalambous

    YIANNAKIS Omirou last night won a landslide victory as presidential candidate after Democratic Rally (DISY) party members voted overwhelmingly in support of their choice for President in next year's elections.

    Party conference delegates, vociferously urged on by party Chairman Nicos Anastasiades to back Omirou's candidacy gave the KISOS chairman a 299 to 13 victory. Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides had urged delegates to follow his vote by opposing Omirou, but it was Anastasiades emotive oratory that took centre stage and swung party opinion.

    Party members packed the State Fair venue in Nicosia in an effort to settle the issue of candidacy for the forthcoming elections in February. Despite Cassoulides open opposition to Omirou candidacy the vote proved decidedly one-sided.

    Anastasiades had urged the party follow his lead in the new political climate warning that they could not proceed with "old recipes" in these changing times. He justified his continued support of Omirou which had threatened to split the vote saying, "Who would have been able to trust me if I hadn't backed up my words with my actions."

    After the vote he termed Omirou's victory as candidate for his party as a significant moment in Cypriot political history, and accepted full responsibility for his party's subsequent fortunes as a result of his candidacy.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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