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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-26

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, October 26, 2002


  • [01] Denktash leaves hospital
  • [02] Stelios: no plans for easyJet in Cyprus for at least a year
  • [03] De Soto: UN seeking to arrange Annan-Denktash meeting
  • [04] Billboards set to be scrapped, or moved away from roads
  • [05] Car importers threaten court action over new checks
  • [06] 10 years of helping the sea
  • [07] Ledra Street will remain pedestrian, mayor insists
  • [08] Pittokopitis: political opponents exploiting co-op scam
  • [09] Liopetri man admits grievous bodily harm as prosecutors drop rape charge
  • [10] Psychic detective: I told you so...

  • [01] Denktash leaves hospital

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, whose heart ailment forced a delay in UN-backed peace talks aimed at reuniting Cyprus, was discharged from a New York hospital yesterday, a spokeswoman said.

    "He was discharged at 10.15am today," said Kathy Thompson, spokeswoman for New York's Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre, where Denktash, 78, underwent surgery on October 7 and a follow-up operation last Sunday to replace a heart valve. She did not give further details.

    Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides had been due to return to the table in mid-October in a last bid to reunite the island before the European Union announces an entry date for Cyprus at a December summit.

    A spokesman for Denktash said last week that he would be unable to join the talks for eight more weeks.

    Denktash's spokesman was not immediately available to comment yesterday and it was not certain if Denktash would be able to take part in a meeting with Clerides and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York planned for November.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Stelios: no plans for easyJet in Cyprus for at least a year

    By Jean Christou

    EASYJET tycoon Stelios Haji-Ioannou said yesterday he had no immediate plans to bring the low-cost airline to Cyprus, but said he was hoping to franchise his easyInternetCafe and easyCar brands on the island within the next six months.

    Speaking at a lunch organised by the Chamber of Commerce (KEVE) in Nicosia, Haji-Ioannou, the Greek-born son of Cypriot parents, reportedly worth close to three quarters of a billion dollars, said that for the next 12 months at least he was not looking at the Cyprus market for his low-cost airline.

    "For the time being, easyJet is not considering entering the Cyprus market for three reasons," Haji-Ioannou said, mentioning the takeover of British Airways' low-cost airline GO and also of BA Deutsche, a subsidiary of British Airways in Germany.

    "And the pressures of buying 120 new Airbuses means that we can't for the time being enter the Cyprus market," he added. "For the time being, and for at least next year, we are not going to expand into the Cyprus market, but after that who knows? With 164 planes you gotta fly somewhere."

    However, Haji-Ioannou said that two of his other brands from the easyGroup would be entering the local market.

    "I believe that a business crossing borders costs money, so you have to find a way to do it without costing extra money and I think the answer is franchise, so I'm not saying I'm not going to invest (in Cyprus)," he said.

    "It took me a while to figure it out, but the way to invest is through franchising because you're combining local expertise and know-how with a formula delivered from abroad."

    He added that the group was actively looking for franchisees on the island and hoped to have them up and running within months.

    "We are more ready with the Internet café and I believe if all goes well it will be ready in six months."

    Haji-Ioannou has attempted to bring his business to Cyprus in the past, but ran up against red tape when his shipping company Stelmar sought a listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE).

    He pulled out in disgust when the government delayed establishing criteria for the listing of shipping firms. Stelmar was last year listed on the New York Stock Exchange and was one of the few companies to make a profit last year, despite the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] De Soto: UN seeking to arrange Annan-Denktash meeting

    By Jean Christou

    THE UN is working towards holding a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in early to mid-November, possibly in New York, depending on his health.

    In an interview with the Turkish Cypriot Kibris TV, UN special envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto said it was hoped that Denktash would be in a position to participate in a direct meeting with the Secretary-general in the beginning or towards the middle of next month.

    "We are in consultation with the two sides on this and obviously if there is to be a meeting, with Mr. Denktash present, we will have to hope that he's recovered," De Soto said.

    Denktash underwent heart surgery in New York on October 7 and needed a second operation last Sunday when complications arose, setting his recovery back even further.

    "I can't predict obviously the rate of recovery of Mr. Denktash. I can only hope that it will be as quick as possible and the important thing is that he feels well. His absence is felt, in fact it's felt very significantly, very heavily because leadership is necessary at this stage," de Soto said.

    He said that reports from New York were encouraging and that Denktash's adviser Ergun Olgun was keeping him informed.

    "I can't deny that the absence of Mr. Denktash has of course prevented the direct meetings from going on. And therefore it has not been possible to carry out some of the necessary substantive work that would have been desirable, and to that extent it's a setback but I hope the time can be made up," De Soto said.

    The UN envoy said he was optimistic that a solution could still be reached.

    "My optimism is based on an educated assessment of the basic interests and concerns and fears of all sides. Not just the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, but also the region at large, Greece and Turkey. And I think that those goals would be well served and can best be served through a comprehensive settlement that is reached in the next couple of months," he said.

    "Secondly, I echo the Secretary-general's assessment that even though gaps remain, and some of those gaps are deep, there are ways to bridge all of them. And finally I believe that what should help us is the fact that in the region there is a sense that you can almost touch and smell that there is an opportunity now, that we are at a, excuse me for the cliché, we are at a defining moment in history."

    Turkish Cypriot media reported yesterday that Denktash had begun to be briefed on the Cyprus issue and that his health was steadily improving. Olgun told reporters that he might even be discharged from hospital at the weekend or at the beginning of next week. He did insist, however, that the Cyprus talks could not resume for at least another eight weeks.

    Britain's special envoy for Cyprus, Lord David Hannay was on the island yesterday for meetings with President Glafcos Clerides and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides. No statements were made after the meeting.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Billboards set to be scrapped, or moved away from roads

    By George Psyllides

    MOST billboards littering the island's roads could soon be a thing of the past, after the House Interior and Communications Committees finally agreed on the majority of provisions which a bill on advertising hoardings should include.

    The draft could be discussed by the plenum next Thursday and two points of disagreement are expected to be clarified on Tuesday.

    The two sticky points concern the time in which the law would take effect and a proposal tabled by DISY for billboards to be allowed on pavements only if they were placed parallel to it -- and not at an angle, as they are now.

    All parties except the Greens agreed that billboards should be placed at a distance of 40 metres from the highway and have at least three kilometres distance between them. The bill provides that highway billboards should be fixed and their size should not exceed 12 square metres.

    Within cities, billboards are to be banned from pavements, junctions and traffic lights, though bus stops with advertisements will remain untouched.

    Chairman of the Interior Committee Nicos Katsourides said the bill would probably be tabled before plenum on Thursday. "With the exception of the Greens, the rest of the parties have agreed on 99.9 per cent of the points.

    "There are two points of disagreement but they will be clarified the latest by Tuesday," Katsourides said.

    DISY deputy Andreas Papapolyviou noted that there was no study submitted to the House to prove a link between billboards and traffic accidents, while DIKO deputy Antigoni Papadopoulou suggested that the bill should also regulate the contents of the advertisements.

    Green party deputy George Perdikis said his party proposed that billboards should not be visible from highways. He said he was saddened that despite the initial positive approach to this suggestion, the agreement between the big parties had changed the plan.

    A representative of the Outdoor Advertising Association, Michalis Charalambous, disagreed with the 40 metres distance and wondered why huge commercial buildings were allowed to be constructed 12 metres from highways while billboards were banned.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Car importers threaten court action over new checks

    By Alex Mita

    IMPORTERS of scrapped cars have threatened to take legal action against the government should the Department of Transport continue to carry out thorough inspections on cars before they are approved for repair.

    The move comes after the government's adoption of tough new regulations for the repair of scrapped cars following the recent luxury car assembly scam that rocked the police force prompting the resignation of Police Chief Andreas Angelides.

    Licensed dealers say reassembled cars could prove lethal due to the chassis' inability to cope with the stresses of a collision.

    The new regulations introduced by the Department of Transport impose a four- stage inspection on cars by a three-member team of official technicians before the owner can receive a certificate of approval to go ahead with repairs.

    However, suggestions have been made for not approving cars should technicians determine that the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than 1/3 of its original selling price in Cyprus.

    If, for instance, the cost of repairing a car whose sale price is £45,000 exceeds £15,000, the car would not be approved.

    But some importers are furious with the new regulations, including a ban on importing left-hand drive cars, despite the fact that manufacturers strictly prohibit modifications on cars' steering systems.

    The importers insist that the new rules are illegal and have notified the government in writing of their intentions to take them to court.

    Meanwhile, the Nicosia District Court yesterday officially charged police inspector Yiannakis Panayiotou and his daughter with involvement in the car scam.

    The court also charged three Transport Department employees, Leonidas Parpas, 50, Yiannakis Athanasiou, 53, and Andreas Neoptolemou, 58, from Lakatamia.

    The defendants pleaded not guilty and the court set the date for their hearing on March 13, 2003 and January 13 respectively.

    The defendants were released on bail.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] 10 years of helping the sea

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE CYPRUS Marine Environment Protection Association (CYMEPA) celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday with a Gala dinner held under the auspices of President Glafcos Clerides, and a £200,000 cheque from easyJet tycoon Stelios Haji-Iouannou.

    "We are celebrating 10 years of voluntary commitment to save the seas while at the same time taking the opportunity to thank the initial and founding members who have been with us throughout those years," said CYMEPA's General secretary, Michalis Ierides.

    Today, the group are organising an annual beach clean-up at 10 different locations on the island, covering both the coastline and the sea. A team of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot divers have been invited to carry out the underwater clean-up which will start at 10am this morning at Castella beach in Ayios Tychonas. UNOPS is sponsoring the bi-communal underwater event for the protection and preservation of the sea.

    The group is an autonomous, non-profit organisation formed under the initiative of the International Shipping Community of Cyprus with the support of the commercial community. It began in 1992 following in the footsteps of its 'elder sister', the Greek equivalent, HELMEPA, which established itself in 1982.

    "Its principal aim is to encourage and actively assist efforts to prevent all forms of pollution of the sea. The Association also helps seafarers and executives to be more aware of safety and the protection of the marine environment," said Ierides. He added that with recent transformations people on land as well as at sea were eligible for training by the organisation. CYMEPA also initiates environmental projects and operates extensive public awareness campaigns, giving priority to the environmental education of schoolchildren.

    Part of its manifesto includes giving support and assistance to the government in ratifying and implementing international conventions addressing the protection of the marine environment.

    The group was given a special anniversary present yesterday by visiting easyJet tycoon, Stelios Haji-Iouannou, who handed them a £200,000 cheque. Ierides told the Cyprus Mail he was delighted with the gesture.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Ledra Street will remain pedestrian, mayor insists

    By a Staff Reporter

    NICOSIA Mayor Michalakis Zampelas reassured anxious pedestrians that the construction works currently under way on Ledra Street were in no way preparations to reopen the road to full-time traffic.

    "We are simply renovating and improving and making changes in accordance with the recommendations of the team of French experts," said Zampelas.

    The £850,000 project includes a general clean and repair of Ledra and its neighbouring streets, the erection of signs, an improvement in the façade of various shops and the creation of an axis from Lycourgos Street to pedestrian walkways.

    Cars are allowed access to Ledra only between 7 and 10am and 1 and 3pm. "There is no suggestion of changing those hours whatsoever. We will continue to make greater improvements to the area," said the mayor.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Pittokopitis: political opponents exploiting co-op scam

    By Elias Hazou

    DIKO deputy Nicos Pittokopitis, fired last Friday as head of the Paphos Co- op, yesterday claimed his alleged involvement in the loan scam had deliberately been blown out of all proportion by his political opponents.

    Pittokopitis and two senior colleagues were sacked after revelations that the Co-op had been approving loans to companies which were illegally registered as members there; under the law, only individuals are allowed to register as members of co-operative banks. By registering as members, companies evaded mortgage fees worth thousands of pounds to the Land Survey Department.

    On a live radio show yesterday, the outspoken DIKO deputy again categorically denied any wrongdoing, but conceded he was at fault for not double-checking on the companies for whom loans were approved.

    He also clarified that he was perfectly aware of the law, adding that he used to sign loan application forms after being assured by the co-op's secretary that everything was in order.

    "It was routine; it was like writing out a blank cheque," Pittokopitis admitted. "Maybe we should have been more careful, maybe we should have checked out the applying companies one by one. For that much, we are responsible," he added, referring to himself and the other members of the co-op's board of directors who put their signatures on the forms.

    "But in all fairness, these things should have been taken care of by the administrative officers," he went on, evidently referring to the co-op's secretary.

    Media reports have in particular been focusing on one high-profile case, where Pittokopitis allegedly approved a £700,000 loan to a company.

    Pending the results of a government investigation into financial transactions at the Land Survey Department and the co-ops, Pittokopitis lashed out at those detractors calling for his resignation from political office.

    He has concentrated his fire on DISY deputy Christos Pourgourides, among his strongest critics. A spat between the two broke out earlier this week, when Pittokopitis accused Pourgourides of equating him with Italian porn star and politician Illona 'Cicciolina' Staller.

    That triggered a heavy exchange of salvos, with the deputy from Paphos claiming Pourgourides had two years ago been censured by the Bar Association for using his influence as a member of parliament for his own interest.

    The Bar Association president yesterday confirmed that Pourgourides, who sits on the House Watchdog Committee, had been reported by another lawyer but that the case was later dropped and no charges were brought up against the deputy.

    According to the lawyer who reported Pourgourides to the Bar Association's disciplinary committee, the DISY deputy had tabled in parliament an amendment to a criminal law while involved in a case in court. The allegation was that Pourgourides was trying to get his client off the hook by changing the law.

    The name-calling continued yesterday, as Pourgourides issued a written statement describing Pittokopitis' allegations as "malicious falsehoods."

    Pourgourides went on to pile criticism on opposition DIKO, saying it "provided cover" to "mudslingers and slanderers" while professing its aim was to cleanse public life of corruption if its candidate were elected president.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Liopetri man admits grievous bodily harm as prosecutors drop rape charge

    By a Staff Reporter

    A 26-YEAR-old Famagusta district man yesterday admitted guilt to causing grievous bodily harm to a British woman, 22, and is expected to be sentenced next Friday.

    Two other charges concerning abduction with intent to rape and causing grievous bodily harm with intent were dropped by the state prosecutor due to lack of sufficient evidence.

    Diver Zinonas Mastrou from Liopetri was arrested in September after a 22- year-old tourist told police she had been brutally beaten and raped by three unknown individuals.

    She said the three men had forced her into a car outside an Ayia Napa club and took her to an isolated area.

    She was found the next day by local residents on the Ayia Thekla coast near Sotira and was rushed to hospital where she underwent two operations due to the severity of her injuries.

    Yesterday Mastrou admitted to the grievous bodily harm charge and his defence lawyers requested time to study the pathologist's report.

    The defendant will remain in custody until Friday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Psychic detective: I told you so... By Alex Mita

    PSYCHIC detective Robert Cracknell, the man who helped solve the Yorkshire Ripper murders in the UK in the 70s, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday he felt there would be more sniper attacks in the US, despite Thursday's arrest of John Allen Muhammad, 41, and his 17-year-old stepson John Lee Malvo.

    Cracknell claims he had predicted there were two people involved in the attacks in Washington and knew of their arrest a day before it happened.

    "I received an email on my website on Sunday October 20 asking me if there was any insight I could provide the FBI on the case," he said.

    In his reply email on Wednesday, Cracknell said his general feelings about the case were that the perpetrator was not acting alone and was not an American citizen of long standing, and predicted that an arrest was imminent.

    "Normally when I get involved in a case like this I find it preferable to be on the ground so to speak," he said in his email.

    "So I can get only general feelings about this case, i.e. the perpetrator is not acting alone and is not an American citizen of long standing. I also feel that an arrest is imminent, but sadly I feel that after a period of time it may well start up again. There is also a female involvement and I do not totally rule out a politically motivated group."

    However, Cracknell might have been a little wrong regarding the nationality of the perpetrator since according to the Press Association, Muhammad, formerly known as John Allen Williams was born and bred in Baton Rouge in Louisiana and only converted to Islam in 1985. However, his stepson Malvo appears to come from Trinidad.

    Cracknell is currently living in Cyprus and is currently set to re-publish his book The Casebook of a Psychic Detective, the sequel of his autobiography on December 1.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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