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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-30

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, October 30, 2002


  • [01] The 'spy' who came in to be told...
  • [02] Annan looking at ways to keep talks on track for December deadline
  • [03] New bill seeks to ban excessive profits
  • [04] And you thought your honey was local.
  • [05] Maccabi put three past Man United
  • [06] British doctors due in Cyprus to assess Archbishop's health
  • [07] Hooliganism victim will need a year to recover
  • [08] Turkish Cypriot journalist prevented from crossing over
  • [09] We won't be affected by mine ban, National Guard insists

  • [01] The 'spy' who came in to be told...

    By Soteris Charalambous

    A BRITISH man watching Sigma television news on Monday night was shocked to discover he had been arrested earlier that day outside the Paphos air base as a suspected spy.

    Stunned by the revelation, he presented himself to his local police station, who knew no more about his 'arrest' than he did.

    Police Spokesman Christakis Katsikides rubbished the TV news report yesterday, adding that nobody had been arrested or even investigated after Sigma claimed a Briton had taken video footage at the Paphos airbase on Monday evening.

    The allegations were repeated in yesterday's Simerini, which belongs to the same media group as Sigma.

    "Nobody was accused and nobody was arrested. Let me make that clear," Katsikides said.

    The Briton was, however, using a camera in the vicinity, and footage was shown on Sigma's evening news suggesting the tourist was filming Paphos air base, where the National Guard's attack helicopters are based.

    "Somebody was seen photographing in the area, but of his own accord he presented himself to police after seeing pictures of himself on television and asked what was going on," Katsikides said.

    According to the police spokesman, the un-named Briton co-operated fully with officers, handing over his equipment and cassette, which were checked.

    "Nothing suspicious was found and no further investigations concerning the man will be made in relation to this incident," Katsikides added. "This is not considered a serious incident, and as far as the police is concerned the case is closed."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Annan looking at ways to keep talks on track for December deadline

    By Jean Christou

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan is looking at ways to keep Cyprus talks on track as the deadline for the December EU summit in Copenhagen draws nearer, reports from New York said yesterday.

    "Time is pressing and a stock taking is required at this time so the Secretary-general can take a decision on how he can assist in moving the process forward," chief UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told journalists.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides had been expected to resume their talks in early November, in search of an agreement by mid-December in time for the EU summit in Copenhagen, when Cyprus is expected to be approved for entry in 2004.

    However, the talks have been put on hold until Denktash, who this month underwent a heart operation and a second round of surgery following complications in New York, is fully recovered, His aides say this will take at least eight weeks - taking him beyond the Copenhagen deadline. Reports last week suggested Annan might try to arrange a meeting with Denktash before he leaves New York, which is expected to be some time next week.

    Eckhard said that UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto consulted with Greek officials in Athens last week on how to move forward and would meet Clerides and Turkish officials over the next few days before returning to New York at the end of the week to brief Annan.

    While Annan had been widely expected to soon put forward a draft peace plan of his own, De Soto has said repeatedly in recent days that "there is no UN plan," Eckhard said.

    However, EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenther Verheugen and foreign policy chief Javier Solana both last week said such a plan did exist.

    Reports from Brussels yesterday said hopes a settlement before the December 12 Copenhagen summit remained strong despite the setbacks resulting from Denktash's illness.

    "Things are more mature than they have ever been for a settlement," a diplomatic source told Reuters.

    Asked about Denktash's illness, the source said Annan might choose to invite Clerides to New York to discuss the plan. "But the catalyst must come before Copenhagen," added the source, who is close to the UN brokered talks. "It is not too late, if the political will is there, to get a framework agreement at or before Copenhagen."

    The report said that Turkey's general election on Sunday would prove key to determining whether that political will really existed, but the EU could help by keeping open the door for Ankara's eventual accession to the Union, the source said.

    Brussels has promised generous aid to the Turkish Cypriots if they cut a deal with the Greek Cypriot side, but it also says it is ready to admit the island without a settlement.

    The diplomatic source said he expected the Greek Cypriots to offer the Turkish Cypriots "messages of good will" at the Copenhagen summit to help ease their living conditions, but he declined to say what these might entail.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday in London, after meeting his British counterpart Tony Blair, that

    everything regarding Cyprus' accession would progress without problems.

    However, he warned there was now a situation where the Greek Cypriot side wanted to forge ahead with accession and others might think there was an opportunity to "introduce some issues" which, under other circumstances, the Greek Cypriot side and Greece would not accept.

    Simitis said it was his experience that when one country secured a gain, it was often possible for others to think, "since you have gained something, give something else in return".

    "I would like to avert such associations" in the case of Cyprus, he said..

    Clerides said yesterday a Monday summit in Copenhagen had informed candidate countries on the various decisions taken by the European Union at last week's Brussels Summit.

    "None of these decisions affect Cyprus and its European path," Clerides said.

    Commenting on his brief encounter in Copenhagen with Turkish President Ahmed Sezer, Clerides said they exchanged views mainly on the delay in the talks due to Denktash's illness. He said Sezer had asked him whether the technical committees, set up within the framework of the direct talks, had begun their work.

    "I told him we are ready. We have given the names of the members of the two committees. We have not received information from the Turkish side whether they have given the names. I knew before we left that they had not given any names yet due to Mr. Denktash's illness.

    "Mr. Sezer was very friendly," Clerides added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] New bill seeks to ban excessive profits

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    NEW LEGISLATION aimed at curbing profiteering, especially in tourist areas, will be proposed by DISY deputies Christodoulos Taramoundas and Lefteris Christoforou in next week's plenary session. If approved, the penalty for making super-profits will range from two years imprisonment to a 2,000 fine or both.

    "We aim to impose certain limits on profiteering, having in mind the country's sensitivity towards tourism," said Taramoundas yesterday. He explained that the proposed legislation was geared towards consumer products sold at prices obviously disproportionate to their market value.

    "The Commerce Minister (Nicos Rolandis) initially said that Europe allowed profiteering and there was nothing that could be done about it. This is impossible," said Taramoundas. The DISY deputy told the Cyprus Mail that a number of European countries had measures in place to control and regulate profiteering. "This year's EU Directive on the sale of products does not forbid the control of prices of products, and now even the Minister admits that certain products' prices are controlled in Europe," he said.

    Taramoundas said that three categories of product pricing methods existed: first, through the conventional market forces of demand and supply; secondly, through the regulation of a group of products on the extent of profit being made (examples in Europe include items like bread or milk), and thirdly, by the fixing of prices on items such as baby food, a policy undertaken by a number of European countries.

    "Our provision aims to cover profiteering on all consumer products. Under the second category pricing method, we aim to regulate consumer products that are at a much greater price than their 'market value' as defined by Article 302 of the Criminal Code," he said. Taramoundas maintained that price control was already being exercised in Cyprus through the mandatory approval of price catalogues for all eating and drinking establishments by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation. If consumers are charged one cent more for a product than what was approved for that establishment, then the owner may be taken to court.

    "So you see there is already price control in Cyprus in this area, but we are now proposing for the protection of the consumer in supermarkets too. We all know how tourists can be taken advantage and there needs to be protection for them."

    An official from the Commerce Ministry said that from 1973, 61 product prices were controlled, but only cement prices now remained on the list. Fuel prices come under different legislation. The official said that since market competition was healthy, there was no need for price controls. The competition commission has been set up in their place to investigate discrepancies in the market. But he acknowledged that price control was not illegal per se in Europe, as the main obligation for member states was to avoid discriminatory prices, and did not rule out adopting some forms of price control. He added that Greece regulated the price of fruit and vegetables but maintained that this was only in theory, not in practice.

    Chairman of the Cyprus Consumers Association (CCA), Petros Markou, said that the CCA would welcome such a move and was willing to discuss further possibilities of having a 'recommended retail price' as in other European countries. "This would not go against European directives, neither would having a ceiling price on certain products," he said, adding: "It's time for some control in the market in line with European law."

    Markou announced that a new market survey was planned for early December to compare prices of supermarkets throughout Cyprus. "We are extending the list of items to include more products than before. The aim is to see if selling prices that were previously high have remained so. The last study showed price fluctuations between 15 and 28 per cent for the same product in different supermarkets. This is unacceptable," said Markou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] And you thought your honey was local.

    By Alexia Saoulli

    CONCENTRATED fruit juices are not local products of Cyprus and nor are a number of honey brands, despite manufacturers' claims to the contrary, Consumers' Association general-manager Dinos Ioannou warned yesterday.

    "The only fruit juice - as far as I know - that is made 100 per cent in Cyprus, is grapefruit juice. And this is because the countries from which we import concentrated forms of juice do not produce this fruit," he said.

    In other words, orange, peach, apple, grape and banana juices were all predominantly made in Argentina or Brazil and only processed and package here.

    "There is no law that states manufacturers must clearly label their products and define what percentage of their product is local and what percentage is not," he said. "The way the law is phrased allows them to say it is pure honey or pure Cypriot orange juice, when it is not."

    Ioannou said the Consumers' Association had long objected to this practice, but that the Health and Commerce Ministries had not done anything to regulate the existing law.

    "We are not opposed to importing products from abroad. What we do object to is not informing Cypriot consumers what it is they are actually purchasing."

    Honey, for instance, was often imported from Bulgaria and China in a concentrated form and then processed here and called a product of Cyprus.

    "But it is not a product of Cyprus when 90 per cent of it is from China and only 10 per cent of the mixture is made up of local honey." The reason for this practice was because the imported product was much cheaper for manufactures to buy than its local equivalent, he said.

    And the same went for concentrated juice powder from Argentina and Brazil. "Just by adding a small percentage of locally made orange juice to the imported product does not make it a product of Cyprus, and consumers should know this," Ioannou told the Cyprus Mail. "It should be clearly stated on the label, because people cannot tell the difference from the taste."

    Although the association had not received any complaints from consumers, the problem lies in the fact that local health services cannot control how honey and fruit juice concentrates are produced abroad, he said.

    "We don't know how their trees are grown, what fertilisers are used, if the powder is genetically modified, what sort of chemicals are injected into the products." In Cyprus, on the other hand, these aspects of agriculture could be investigated.

    In fact, traces of a banned antibiotic, chloramphenicol, were found in brands of imported royal jelly over three months ago, said head of the State lab, Dina Akkelidou. And information was received from the European Union and North America last week that Chinese honey contained traces of the same drug and should be banned.

    Chloramphenicol is used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria and works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. But the problem lies in the fact that this particular drug may cause the very serious condition of aplastic anaemia, she said.

    Patients with aplastic anaemia have a complete failure of production of all types of blood cells. As a result the bone marrow contains large numbers of fat cells instead of the blood producing cells, which would ordinarily be present, according to the UK Leukaemia Research Fund.

    Chloramphenicol has even been banned in animals, although some farmers still used it to prevent specific forms of bacteria from developing in their livestock or to fatten them up, said Akkelidou.

    But, although all countries carried out both routine and spot checks on certain products, it was virtually impossible to investigate every single product in its market, she said. This was why the EU had established a Rapid Alert System. "When one country finds traces of a potentially harmful substance in one of their products, all other member states are informed and can carry out their own surveys," said Akkelidou. It was thanks to this alert system that the government had been informed of the potentially lethal royal jelly and Chinese honey, said Akkelidou.

    "When chloramphenicol was located in the royal jelly, it was removed from the market." The same would be done if traces of the same antibiotic were found in honey imported from China.

    Although tests carried out on 'local' honey this week have come up clear, Akkelidou agreed with the Consumers Association that the public had a right to know where the product it was consuming came from.

    And as of next year the state laboratory would be in possession of specialised equipment that will be able to test exactly what nectar and from which flora bees used to make their honey, she said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Maccabi put three past Man United

    By Soteris Charalambous

    Nicosia's GSP stadium last night witnessed Maccabi Haifa stun Manchester United with a 3-0 reverse as the lowest ranked team in the tournament, who have been prevented from playing in their own country, turned in a performance that will live long in the memory of their fans -- and may also have earned them a place in the UEFA cup.

    Sir Alex Ferguson reaped the rewards of fielding a weakened team, with a disjointed performance that reflected his players' inexperience at this level.

    Both sides made a good start, creating openings with United shading it on number of efforts but Maccabi testing debutant keeper Ricardo first.

    In an unfamiliar line-up Scholes stood out for United, prompting with his passing, putting players through with his passes and rifling shots from outside the area.

    By the mid-point United looked to have settled better and probed down the Maccabi right through Kieran Richardson, the youngster looking to test Avishay Zano on every opportunity.

    For Haifa Giovani Rosso looked to be giving the United's defence the greatest concern with his direct style, and it was his effort that forced Ricardo to save with his legs after his close range shot was deflected.

    United's response inevitably came through Scholes whose influence on the half was growing, a shot from 25 yards forcing Dudu Awate to tip the ball over his bar and into the crowd of United fans behind his goal.

    The keeper was forced into making another save as Silvestre broke down the left with United looking to take control of the game. Haifa responded well to the challenge and hit back with swift incisive passing through the middle, trying to take advantage of United's midfield unfamiliarity.

    After a slick piece of passing Ayegbani was brought down by O'Shea, the challenge earning the young Irishman a yellow card. He was soon followed into the referee's book by Silvestre after another clumsy challenge on the same player. United's confidence started to shake, and Haifa had two good efforts saved after a period of intense pressure before they finally took the lead.

    The ball broke to Yaniv Katan 20 yards out, the midfielder hitting a dipping shot that left Ricardo grasping air as it nestled into the top left corner.

    Typically, United responded but Haifa held out until the break.

    United started the second half eager to get back into the game and nearly pulled a goal back through Forlan, his effort clipping the crossbar. But it was Haifa's players who passed the ball with greater confidence and accuracy as they started to control the midfield, powered on by the vocal support.

    The Haifa fans were soon given even more to cheer about as their team extended their lead. Defender Raimondas Zutauttas finished off a sweeping move that switched from right to left, beating Ricardo with another long range effort that nestled into the top left corner.

    Ferguson reacted by taking off the tiring Richardson and bringing on another youngster, Daniel Nardiello, but his contribution was minimal as Haifa's command of the midfield grew.

    United seemed to be running out of ideas and even Scholes seemed to be finding less and less room to work in as Haifa's players eagerly denied their opposition space. United's lack of fluency and inability to sustain any real response typified when Ferdinand's simple pass out of defence to Gary Neville rolled under his foot for a throw in to Haifa.

    United's misery was complete when Haifa broke through again, forcing Ricardo to bring down Zuttauttas. The keeper's personal debut nightmare compounded as he earned a yellow and was sent the wrong way by Yakubu Ayegbeni who made it 3-0.

    Ferguson's final roll of the dice was to replace Forlan with yet another youngster, Lee Roche, as his side tried to rally.

    But United's efforts so often faded into nothing, drowned out by a jubilant crowd who cheered every pass in the last 10 minutes, filled with the belief that their team have given themselves a real chance of progressing into the UEFA cup and continuing their journey through Europe.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] British doctors due in Cyprus to assess Archbishop's health

    By Jean Christou

    SEVERAL medical specialists from the UK are expected on the island shortly to monitor the progress of Archbishop Chrysostomos and give an assessment on the sate of his health by November 15, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday.

    The Archbishop, who returned recently to Cyprus, was being treated at a private clinic in Greece after being transferred there from a public hospital in Athens, where he had been for several months after sustaining injuries in a fall. Speculation has been rife that the Archbishop is suffering from Alzheimers disease, but nothing has been confirmed.

    Controversy has been raging about the true state of his health, which has fuelled speculation about a power struggle for succession within the Church and caused a rift between bishops and the health minister, who has taken full charge of the Church leader's health.

    Savvides told reporters yesterday that by November 15 the doctors from London would have a verdict on his health and on whether was fit to resume his duties.

    "It's obvious that the doctors will have to answer two main questions," Savvides said. "Will the Archbishop at any time or in any way be restored to full health and how much time will this require? And secondly, what illness does he have and to what extent he can perform his duties or should a successor be appointed?"

    Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos, who has been pushing for a meeting of the Holy Synod to discuss the issue, made a new appeal yesterday, saying the Archbishop, whose responsibility it was to call Synod meetings, was in no condition to do so. He said that in his opinion the Archbishop was not even able to give a command, let alone follow the proceedings.

    Commenting on a reference to the fact the Archbishop had carried out a church ceremony last week and had asked to see House President Demetris Christofias, the Paphos bishop said: "The Archbishop remembers the old days. He can remember when he was at school at the village and can recite the poem he learned as a child. He remembers these things. New things he can't remember." The Paphos bishop also said he had doubts about the Archbishop asking to see Christofias. "When I visit him he says thank you but here is no capability for conversation," he added.

    The bishop said that if the other bishops decided they wanted to hold a meeting he was at their disposal, "but there is no unanimity on this." However, the bishops are due to meet President Glafcos Clerides tomorrow for a briefing on the Cyprus problem and the Paphos bishop has suggested they hold a meeting then.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Hooliganism victim will need a year to recover

    By George Psyllides

    A 20-YEAR-old conscript who was seriously injured on the head during clashes outside a Limassol stadium was yesterday said to be out of danger, though at least a year would be needed for a full recovery.

    Geadis Geadi suffered serious head injuries after he was hit on the head by a stone during clashes outside the Tsirion stadium.

    Geadi, an APOEL Nicosia supporter, was on board a bus returning from Paphos, where his team had played AEP.

    At around 7.15pm, the five buses were passing outside the Tsirion, which is next to the Limassol to Paphos motorway, when they were ambushed by around 80 Limassol fans, who had been attending the Limassol derby between AEL and Apollonas.

    Geadi was first rushed to Limassol hospital, but due to the seriousness of his condition he was transferred to Nicosia, where he underwent emergency surgery.

    Doctors said yesterday his condition was developing better than expected; he could now communicate with his environment and no neurological problems had emerged.

    The 20-year-old is currently receiving antibiotics and anti-epilepsy drugs to prevent the risk of epileptic fits.

    He would remain on the epilepsy drugs for around a year, doctors said.

    Geadi is expected to be discharged from hospital in around 10 days but will return in two months in order to undergo surgery on the cranium to cover a gap left to his scull from the impact of the stone.

    The clubs involved in the clashes have blamed the police for failing to prevent them, though Chief of Police Tassos Panayiotou rejected the charges, arguing what needed to be looked into was why fans of the two clubs clashed so regularly.

    No one has been arrested in connection with Saturday's violence, but Panayiotou said police would be studying video footage of the incident in order to identify the culprits.

    Saturday's was the latest incident in a protracted vendetta between fans from the two cities, who have been known to clash almost every time their sides meet.

    Five months ago, a 25-year-old APOEL supporter was seriously injured in similar clashes outside the Tsirion.

    He spent several days fighting for his life in hospital.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Turkish Cypriot journalist prevented from crossing over

    By a Staff Reporter

    A TURKISH Cypriot journalist has been prevented from crossing from the occupied north to attend the presentation of a book he wrote describing his arrest and imprisonment for articles critical of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Turkish army.

    Sener Levent, the editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika, (formerly Avrupa ) was prevented from attending the presentation of his book My motherland is under occupation, which was scheduled for last night at the Famagusta Gate in Nicosia.

    In his book, Levent describes his arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment by the occupying regime after he published articles against Denktash and the Turkish army, which were deemed offensive by 'court' following suits filed by the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    Levent and the Afrika journalist who wrote the article were released after a short while following the international outcry against their imprisonment.

    The presentation of the book, however, did go ahead and a message written by Levent was read out during the function.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] We won't be affected by mine ban, National Guard insists

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE National Guard yesterday insisted it would not be affected if Cyprus ratified the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines.

    The issue was discussed before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which was told by a Foreign Ministry representative that ratifying the convention was an urgent matter, as the ministry was already committed.

    But the committee heard that the National Guard would not be affected if the convention was ratified because it banned anti-personnel and not anti- tank mines.

    The Foreign Ministry representative said Greece had already ratified the convention and expected Turkey to follow suit.

    Turkey has not ratified the treaty citing the political instability due to the imminent general elections.

    AKEL deputy Takis Hadjigeorgiou suggested the ministry should consult with its Greek counterpart on how to proceed on the matter.

    The discussion was adjourned at the request of the legal service, which asked to re-examine a specific provision.

    The Ottawa Convention bans production, storage, use and sale of anti- personnel mines, as well as ordering the clearance of existing minefields.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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