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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-31

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Thursday, October 31, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bar owners cry foul over closing time crackdown
  • [02] Minister says police partly to blame for hooligan clashes
  • [03] Villagers up in arms over co-op investigation
  • [04] Passengers let rip over CY delay
  • [05] CyBC Board member resigns slamming lack of meritocracy
  • [06] 21 per cent of heart attack victims keep on smoking
  • [07] Iraq war would pose serious challenges for Turkey
  • [08] Ex-cop 'on hunger strike for justice'

  • [01] Bar owners cry foul over closing time crackdown

    By George Psyllides

    RESTAURANT and bar owners yesterday accused police of imposing a curfew through their new crackdown on establishments staying open beyond legal hours.

    The police crackdown on restaurants and nightclubs to enforce has caused owners to cry foul, saying their business is suffering as a result.

    The latest move started last Friday, after around a year of peace between the two sides.

    Owners of establishments were notified that they should be closing by 3am and that police would be carrying out rigorous checks.

    Despite the majority of establishments obeying the law, their association has reacted, requesting for the issue to be studied anew.

    According to the law, between October 1 and April 30, restaurants, taverns, pubs, bars, cafes, pizza joints and snack bars, with music or not, can be open from 7am to 2am Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, establishments can remain open until 3am.

    Clubs, cabarets and similar venues can be open from 8pm to 2am from Monday to Wednesday and from 8pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

    One member of the association, Andreas Constantinides, told the Cyprus Mail that the government was effectively imposing a curfew, forcing everyone to go home by 2am.

    "The world is advancing and we are going backwards," he said.

    Constantinides said his association wanted the government to rethink the law and apply something along the lines of what is in force in Greece.

    In Greece, Constantinides said, places are open on weekdays until 3-3.30am, giving customers 30 minutes to to leave. On Fridays and Saturdays they are allowed to be open until 4am, again with 30 minutes extra time for punters to get out.

    Constantinides added that restaurants should be allowed to remain open 24 hours, without of course serving alcohol beyond a certain time.

    He said the association would try and change things and was optimistic it would succeed, especially after Cyprus has joined the European Union.

    Constantinides stressed that the association was not against the implementation of the law, noting, however, that it should be enforced across the board and adding he was not sure it was being enforced in all districts.

    Those who violate the law can face up to a 500 fine or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

    The stiff penalties were deemed necessary, since the old system of small on the spot fines proved inadequate to prevent owners from staying open beyond the set times.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Minister says police partly to blame for hooligan clashes

    By George Psyllides

    JUSTICE Minister Alecos Shambos yesterday conceded that police shared some responsibility for Saturday's clashes between Limassol and Nicosia football supporters, which resulted in the serious injury of a 20-year-old man.

    "Police has a share of the responsibility but many others have also got a share," Shambos said.

    Speaking before the House Crime Committee, the minister said the basic practice of police providing escort for travelling fans was wrong, but added the force had also made mistakes on Saturday.

    Shambos said European Union guidelines stressed it was not right for police to escort fans.

    "The police's mission is to police the stadium in way that would allow it to intervene from the moment that trouble starts," Shambos said.

    Shambos said the police had made two mistakes on Saturday - not applying the plan for the fan's transportation and failing to spot the group of Limassol fans who had ambushed the buses with stones.

    Around 80 fans hid behind bushes outside the Tsirion stadium in Limassol and stoned buses carrying APOEL Nicosia supporters as they were returning home from Paphos.

    Shambos added that the bus drivers had refused to follow the route suggested by the police, which was for the fans to travel to Nicosia through Troodos, avoiding Limassol altogether.

    He said the bus drivers had claimed their vehicles could break down on the mountainous route and put their passengers' lives at risk.

    "This does not excuse the police, who should have insisted on the route being followed," Shambos said.

    He added that since trouble was a possibility, the pre-determined route should have been followed.

    The minister said he would call a meeting with all involved as soon as possible to discuss the problems in depth and take decisions that everyone would respect and enforce.

    Asked why no arrests had been made, Shambos said the fact that no one had been detained during the fracas made it more difficult for police to locate the culprits.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Villagers up in arms over co-op investigation

    RESIDENTS of a Paphos village are said to be up in arms after five members of the local co-op committee were sacked for refusing to put the secretary on forced leave pending an investigation into irregularities.

    The Panayia village co-op is being investigated, along with the co- operatives in Paphos, Polis Chrysohous and Pomos, after it emerged they were registering companies as members, which then proceeded to take out loans without paying the mortgage fees to the Land Registry Department.

    According to law, only private citizens can become co-op members, and are exempted from paying mortgage fees if they borrow money.

    The sacking of the five Panayia members follows the high-profile dismissal of DIKO first vice chairman Nicos Pittokopitis as chairman of the Paphos co- op committee.

    Co-operative Development officer Erotocritos Chlorakiotis had asked from the three co-ops - Panayia, Polis and Pomos - to put their secretaries on forced leave pending investigations of the matter.

    Polis and Pomos obeyed, but Panayia refused, forcing Chlorakiotis to sack the five members.

    Chlorakiotis is understood to be having difficulties in replacing them, since other co-op officials are refusing to take over.

    According to reports yesterday, other co-op officials were determined not to accept the replacements, while village residents denied that the interests of the community had been hurt by the committee's actions and demanded to meet Chlorakiotis personally.

    In a written statement yesterday, Chlorakiotis said he had sacked the four members of the committee because they had approved the registration of a company, thus violating the law on co-operative banks, while the secretary was also suspended pending the police investigation into the matter.

    The statement said that two other officials had been appointed to oversee the bank's operations until a new committee was elected.

    A temporary secretary was also named to take the place of the suspended official until the investigation was completed, the statement said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Passengers let rip over CY delay

    By Jean Christou

    A GROUP of Cypriot passengers were back on the island yesterday after enduring a five-hour delay in Athens on Monday night, where "all hell broke loose".

    Reports yesterday said the 240 passengers had been due to fly from Athens to Larnaca on Cyprus Airways' Monday 8.45pm flight when they were notified of a two-hour delay. However, at 11pm they were informed that the aircraft's landing gear needed repairing and that it would take another four hours. Another plane with the parts needed would be flown from Cyprus, they were told.

    The disgruntled passengers were taken to a hotel in Athens for a meal but were informed that there was only enough food for half of them.

    "Then all hell broke loose," according to the reports, with passengers starting to shout and swear at CY staff. A short time later, the passengers were given the choice of staying at the hotel and catching a flight home on Tuesday or waiting up to be flown home at 4am, or or on Olympic Airways' 1am flight to Larnaca. However the OA flight had room for only 50 people, which reportedly caused another fracas amongst passengers racing to be first.

    Further reports said that of the 50 who managed to board the Olympic flight, the baggage belonging to 25 failed to arrive on the same flight.

    CY sources said yesterday the behaviour of the passengers had been "unbelievable".

    "If this had happened when they were travelling British Airways, they would not have dared to say a word, but when it comes to Cyprus Airways they act unruly," the source said.

    "They caused a lot of trouble and it cost us close to 10,000 to send the plane with the spare parts so we could get them home quickly. Most other airlines would have let them wait until the next day. We spend thousands trying to satisfy our passengers."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] CyBC Board member resigns slamming lack of meritocracy

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A MEMBER of the CyBC Board of Directors, Andreas Chrysanthou, announced his resignation yesterday amidst a barrage of accusations against the semi- governmental organisation. Chrysanthou charged the institution's recruitment and promotional procedures as being tainted by a lack of meritocracy and causing the marginalisation of competent employees.

    "All the evidence points to an orgy of lack of meritocracy and the conquest by DISY of the permanent positions available at CyBC," he said.

    The Board member said he had "reached the end of his tether" when the procedure began to appoint a Director-general for the organisation, and he accused the institution of sidelining competent employees and employing a tainted method to appointing a new Director-general.

    "While in past years there was no mention of having a Director-general, now they are going to bind the board of directors at CyBC with a permanent Director-general who was decided on from before the procedures of interview and examination took place," he claimed.

    Chrysanthou insists the appointment will bind CyBC for the next 20 years. He acknowledged that no decision had been taken specifying that length of period but maintained that all the evidence pointed in that direction.

    "You know when a snake is going to bite you before it bites," he said, adding that his eight years of experience on the board proved to him that rumours from the CyBC corridors usually ended up being reality.

    Chrysanthou described the case of one of the candidates for Director- general who resigned from the board to become a candidate. "This is morally wrong since it is the board which will make the appointment."

    He said the organisation lacked an inspiring and just leadership to lead it towards the future and unite departments that were in constant competition with each other.

    "In my time, there have been people who got three promotions within the space of two or three years while others wait years for legitimate promotions," he said. "This method of pre-picking people for positions means candidates of merit don't stand a chance."

    Asked about the timing of his resignation, given that in his own words such non-meritocratic methods of recruitment had been going on for years, he replied, "I felt that I could work better within the institution to make more improvements, but I can no longer feel that way".

    Chrysanthou added he would not be surprised if more board members resigned, since there were others who felt the same way.

    But the Chairman of the board of directors, Antonis Drakos, told state radio yesterday that Chrysanthou's resignation had come as a surprise to him, hinting that other players were involved in the decision.

    "He agreed to nearly all the promotions of the last few years," said Drakos. "There is no issue of lack of meritocracy at CyBC. This is the first time it is presented to us." Drakou said that the aim of Chrysanthou's resignation was clear: his ulterior motive was to hinder the appointment by the board of a Director-general. "His resignation hinders this process and I find the public discussion of candidates unethical but an appointment will be made before the board's tenure expires in August 2003. We have completed the stage of examination of applicants and are at the stage of appointing the Director-general."

    Drakou said he was not concerned by the prospect of further resignations.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] 21 per cent of heart attack victims keep on smoking

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A Study of 300 heart patients has revealed that 21 per cent of those who suffered a heart attack had continued smoking after the crisis, compared to 25 per cent in Greece, 18 per cent in Britain and 21 per cent in Europe as a whole.

    The study was undertaken in the last quarter of 2000 by eight public and private cardiologists at the Cardiological Unit of Limassol General Hospital and the Nicosia Cardiological Institute, Phileleftheros reported yesterday. The results of the study will be presented tomorrow at a Cardiological conference to be held in Athens.

    Meanwhile, a further study will be made in the first quarter of 2003 for a comparison of the results.

    According to the report, 81 per cent of patients were male and 19 per cent female. The study revealed that 69 per cent of heart patients were smokers until the day they suffered heart attacks.

    Other revelations include the fact that 25 per cent of patients do not follow dietary programmes, while 35 per cent fail to adopt a programme of systematic exercise. Sixty-four per cent of Cypriot patients that are taking drugs have a blood pressure lower than 140/90, compared to 52 per cent in Greece and 49 per cent in the Britain and Europe.

    Cypriot patients showed a marked difference in cholesterol levels as only 22 per cent of the patients had levels lower than 190, compared to 42 per cent in Greece, 54 per cent in Britain and 51 per cent in Europe as a whole.

    The report concludes that there is substantial scope for improvement of preventive treatment on coronary patients in Cyprus in order to avoid new attacks through dietary correction of a patient's way of life.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Iraq war would pose serious challenges for Turkey

    A NEW study prepared by Nicosia-based Civilitas Research shows that Turkey will face significant challenges, and will have to make some serious choices regarding its relationship with the United States and the European Union if Washington goes ahead and launches an attack on Iraq.

    The 34-page report, 'Turkey and an Iraq Conflict: Responses and Implications', finds that although the Turkish government is strongly opposed to an attack on Iraq it will not actively oppose any action by Washington, nor will it prevent the United States from using military facilities in Turkey, such as the important Incirlik airbase.

    Civilitas is an independent strategic research and consulting firm specialising on South-eastern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, offering political risk analysis, EU consulting, socio-political research and industry intelligence services.

    The report said Turkey was unlikely to be simply a spectator in any conflict. "Fears that the Kurds of northern Iraq will use a US invasion as a chance to declare independence will almost certainly push Turkey into staging its own large scale military intervention to prevent the creation of a Kurdish state in the region," it said.

    While the decision to intervene in Iraq is unlikely to face much opposition in the short term, in the medium term Turkey will be faced with severe problems if it decides to stay in northern Iraq following the formation of a new government in Baghdad. Apart from facing stiff resistance by the Kurdish parties in the region, thus drawing Turkey into a brutal war, Ankara would also need to consider the damage done to its regional relationships by staying in Iraq and the likely problems that a prolonged occupation of Iraq could have on its relations with the European Union, it adds.

    "An invasion would also have severe consequences at a time when the Turkish economy is slowly emerging from the deepest recession since 1945 and a military occupation in Iraq could force another downturn in the economy. In terms of the level of support needed, recent figures produced by several sources indicate that Washington would need to provide at least $7 billion annually to ensure Turkish economic security," the report said.

    As Dr James Ker-Lindsay, the Executive Director of the Civilitas, and lead author of the report, said: "The Turkish Government will need to think long and hard about their objectives if they do decide to go into Iraq. If it pulls out of Iraq, Ankara may have to accept that it will be powerless to prevent the formation of a Kurdish homeland in the future. However, if Turkey chooses to stay put in the region at the end of hostilities it will need enormous political, economic and military support from the United States. The question that needs to be asked is whether Washington will be prepared to shoulder this burden."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Ex-cop 'on hunger strike for justice'

    A DISILLUSIONED ex-policeman went on hunger strike from noon on Tuesday, camping last night in Eleftheria Square, Nicosia, in protest at what he described as abusive and unfair treatment by the force.

    The man sat in his tent in the busy street as coaches of curious tourists were dropped off in front of placards reading: "Cyprus: Motherland of Corruption" and "Human Rights Violator".

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, 33-year-old Andreas Konstandinou explained why he was willing to sacrifice his life to get the justice he has been searching for the past three years.

    Konstandinou said that in October, 1999, he was described in writing by then Chief of Police, Andreas Angelides, as being unfit to perform his duties due to psychological problems. He was subsequently dismissed from his position -just three months after receiving his police diploma.

    Next to the makeshift tent in Eleftheria Square, Konstandinou displays two enlarged photocopies of police medical council reports, one in November 1996 and the other in June 1999, both claiming that Konstandinou did not suffer from psychological problems.

    "I have no criminal record, record of bad behaviour or psychological problems or anything to justify the way I've been treated," he said. "After I was dismissed no one would hire me. I couldn't pay my loans off and ended up getting kicked onto the streets with my wife."

    The couple spent 17 days on the streets until the Welfare Department and Nicosia Municipality arranged to provide them with a refugee flat.

    Konstandinou said that a court case on the alleged "unfair dismissal" had been going on for three years, and seemed to be dragging on needlessly with no end in sight. His wife described her disbelief at the whole situation, "In Cyprus, anything can happen. Angelides probably doesn't even know my husband".

    Asked why he felt he had been treated in this way, Konstandinou replied, "From the moment I arrived at the Police Academy, I was a thorn in their side. I refused to go along with their dirt, and reacted to them and their system".

    He maintained that his unwillingness to participate in alleged police corruption was a major factor in his untimely dismissal. "They labelled me problematic from the start and then made moves to be rid of me."

    He claimed continued intimidation from the police followed his dismissal and court hearings.

    Konstandinou insisted he would continue the hunger strike until justice had been done and his name had been cleared.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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