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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-11-02

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

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


Saturday, November 2, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tennis sensation granted reprieve from military service
  • [02] Cyprus takes on air traffic challenges in new European environment
  • [03] Woman jailed for beating ex-husband and mother-in-law
  • [04] Furniture manufacturers secure multi-million pound contract with MOD
  • [05] Interest rates on hold
  • [06] Shares rise almost another five per cent
  • [07] Clerides: we won't agree to anything in talks just for the sake of EU membership
  • [08] Tourists case: both were drunk, says lawyer

  • [01] Tennis sensation granted reprieve from military service

    By Soteris Charalambous

    PHILIOS Christodoulou, President of the Cyprus Tennis Federation, announced yesterday that teenage tennis sensation Marcos Baghdatis had been granted a postponement to national service to pursue his career until the end of 2004.

    "We are awaiting the letter of confirmation from the Defence Ministry," said Christodoulou, "But the Council of Ministers approved the postponement in their last meeting."

    Baghdatis, 17, has been ranked in the top three on the junior tour throughout 2002 and reached the junior final of the US open in September at New York's Flushing Meadow. His promising career was threatened by a call up earlier this year to do 26 months' national service, that was due to start in January. "He is about to join the men's tour and any interruption at this juncture would have hindered the development of his game at this critical stage," said a spokesman from the Cyprus Tennis Federation.

    Christodoulou yesterday expressed his thanks to the Cyprus Mail for its role in bringing to the public's attention Baghdatis' remarkable progress, and in securing the postponement.

    "Although ministers, KOA and the Olympic Committee tried (to secure a postponement) they were unsuccessful, I now realise that the press is more powerful than all of us put together," joked Christodoulou.

    Marcos Baghdatis was unavailable for comment as he is participating in a men's satellite tournament in Switzerland, where he has just reached the quarterfinals, but his father, Omar was ecstatic at the news.

    "The whole family feels great, and so does Marcos," said his father, "I have no doubt that the news that the Council of Ministers had agreed to listen to the application for postponement inspired his performance at the US Open, and this news with only inspire him even more."

    Marcos expressed "relief" to his father that his efforts will not be jeopardised by military service. At 14 years of age Baghdatis left his family and moved to France in order to receiving coaching at the Bob Brevett Tennis Academy. His progress has been spectacular, rising to number two in the junior rankings.

    His coaches firmly believe he has the 'game' to make a serious challenge on the men's circuit and that in the future a realistic chance of winning a Grand slam event, a possibility made all the more likely by the granting of the postponement.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Cyprus takes on air traffic challenges in new European environment

    By Jean Christou

    AIR traffic into Larnaca in July was down 2.9 per cent over the same period last year, while passenger numbers fell 10.9 per cent and cargo 8.6 per cent, Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou said yesterday.

    At Paphos airport, traffic was down 4.5 per cent, passengers down 3.4 per cent and cargo fell 35.6 per cent, the Minister said.

    Speaking at a conference entitled 'Cyprus' role in the management of air traffic at the beginning of the 21st century', Neophytou also commented on the issue of air liberalisation, which is due to come into effect on January 1. He said that whether or not full liberalisation came about would depend on meetings to be held with European officials on November 17. "The liberalisation of air transport will have a significant impact on the Cypriot economy, Cypriot airlines and on Cypriot passengers," he said

    Neophytou said the island's goal was for Cyprus to play a regional role for the co-operation and co-ordination of Middle East countries with Eurocontrol.

    He also said that in order to meet the new demands, Cyprus planned to reconstruct its airspace in accordance with practice in the unified European airspace, implement Eurocontrol security standards to all fields of air traffic control, and apply common European standards as regards issuing of air traffic controllers licences.

    Neophytou said the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR) was 19 times bigger than the area of the island and that airport costs in Cyprus were the lowest in Europe.

    Eurocontrol Director General Victor Aguado, who also addressed the conference, said that the biggest contribution Cyprus made to the European Air Traffic Management (ATM) was the role it played in the successful implementation of one of the most revolutionary programmes in the restructuring of European airspace, the reduced vertical separation minimum, known as RVSM, which came into effect earlier this year.

    "It would not be an exaggeration to state that without the regional co- ordination role of Cyprus with the surrounding Middle East and North African states, the programme could not be successfully implemented," Aguado said.

    "The role of Cyprus in European air traffic management policies is fundamental as Cypriot airspace is at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, providing today services to over 240,000 flights, a number that will shortly become equivalent to the traffic between Europe and the North Atlantic."

    Aguado also said that, according to Eurocontrol forecasts, air traffic in Europe after the temporary slowdown between 2001 and 2002 was expected to continue to rise as it has done in the past, doubling by the year 2020.

    He said the European airspace was one of the densest in the world with some 8.5 million flights per year using it. These flights cover some 6.4 billion kilometres, transporting 600 million people a year with 17,000 aircraft.

    Aguado said that Eurocontrol, together with the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the airlines organisations, supported Cyprus' initiative to create a regional mechanism, which will promote and establish co-operation in ATM matters between Europe and the Middle East.

    Cyprus Airways (CY) chairman Haris Loizides told delegates that circumventing Turkish air space cost the national carrier 1 million a year.

    Loizides said it was unfair that Turkey, an EU aspirant, did not allow a candidate country permission to use its air space. Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and has prevented the national carrier from using its air space since 1974.

    He said the ban complicated CY's operations and created inefficiency and additional costs for the national carrier. It also created a competitive disadvantage for the airline, he said.

    "Although we recognise the political dimension of this issue we believe that it is now time in the context of the Single European Sky to resolve this once and for all," Loizides said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Woman jailed for beating ex-husband and mother-in-law

    By a Staff Reporter

    A 23-YEAR-old woman pleaded guilty to committing grievous bodily harm to her ex-husband and mother-in-law and was sentenced to two months imprisonment, reports said yesterday.

    On Thursday, Nicosia district judge Leonidas Kalogyrou sentenced Sophia Antoniou, from Kokkinotrimithia village, for causing grievous bodily harm to her former Romanian husband Mario Marin and his mother Soran Marin, whom she'd threatened with a knife.

    Kalogyrou said violence was "unforgivable," even coming from a woman. Passing sentence, the judge took into account a former case when the defendant had struck a neighbour and her grandson with a broomstick because she suspected them of poisoning her dogs.

    Antoniou, who had two children by her ex-husband, aged four and six, accused him of being lazy and claimed that by bringing his mother to the island, she had been forced to become a door-to-door salesperson in order to make ends meet.

    Following the couple's divorce, Marin and his mother moved to another village. But on May 22 last year, the Antoniou paid them a visit and physically attacked her former mother-in-law. When mother and son went to the police station to report the incident, Antoniou hit Marion Marin on the back.

    On a separate occasion, after swearing at her mother-in-law, the defendant threatened her with a knife and told her to leave Cyprus.

    In her defence, Antoniou apologised to the court and said both her former husband and his mother had suppressed her to such an extent that she had no longer been able to take the pressure.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Furniture manufacturers secure multi-million pound contract with MOD

    By Soteris Charalambous

    A GROUP of Cypriot furniture manufacturers headed by COSPA has signed a long-term multi-million pound contract with UK company Product Procurement Services (PPS) Ltd, suppliers to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

    The official announcement jointly made by the parties yesterday at Nicosia's Holiday Inn confirmed that 80 per cent of the bases' total furniture requirements would be covered by the contract, amounting to annual spending in the region of 2 million. PPS's worldwide distribution network opens the possibility for exports that could bring the total annual value of the contract up to 20 million.

    Joanne Knight, Marketing Manager of PPS added, "the contract will run to 2008, with the option for a renewal."

    Major Fred Bowes, supplier of furniture to the bases in Cyprus said, "We have been very impressed with the entire product range, it is very different to that produced in Britain and far better suited to our needs.

    "We are looking forward to doing a lot of business now and in the future."

    Nicholas Patsos, Managing Director of COPSA, officially signed the contract at the Office of the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in the presence of Minister Rolandis. Patsos felt that the contract underlined the quality of the goods and represented the clearest indication that Cypriot furniture manufacturing was of a comparable quality to that in other countries. "If it is the preferred option of PPS and the MoD, then I see no reason for Cypriots not to express the same preferences."

    It was a view echoed by Knight, "Cyprus has a well established and highly professional furniture and manufacturing industry and we are delighted that we have been able to work with these companies to develop a customised solution specifically for British Forces personnel in Cyprus."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Interest rates on hold

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE CENTRAL Bank kept interest rates on hold yesterday, saying current inflationary pressures -- expected to accumulate further next year -- did not justify any adjustment.

    The current rate is 5.5 per cent for advances and 2.5 per cent for deposits.

    The economic outlook had not changed substantially since the last review in September, but inflation continued to be an issue of concern, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) said.

    "The present and future pattern of prices was a determining factor in reaching this decision," Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou told reporters.

    Inflation was running at 3.41 per cent year-on-year in September up from 2.05 per cent in the same month of 2001. Inflation figures for October were not due out until next week.

    The Central Bank has repeatedly highlighted inflationary risks from a two percentage point increase in Value Added Tax from January 1.

    Authorities needed to hike VAT to the EU minimum of 15 per cent, but only after tough bargaining in which they gave a raft of tax breaks to individuals to get parliamentary consent, leaving earners with more money in their pockets from last July.

    And come January incomes are expected to rise again. Many Cypriot employers, including the state, give Consumer Price Index-linked cost of living allowances (CoLA).

    "Taking this accumulative inflationary pressure into account, and VAT rising to 15 per cent in January, it is anticipated that inflation will range from between 4 and 4.5 per cent in 2003," Christodoulou said.

    The MPC said that banks which were awash with excess liquidity from a drop off in consumers' demand posed an additional risk to inflation, albeit a distant one.

    The rate of new credit rose by 7.9 per cent in September from 13.6 per cent in September 2001.

    The island's tourist-driven economy has seen growth stunted this year from a fall in arrivals, translating into a projected 2.4 per cent expansion in GDP from 4.0 per cent in 2001.

    Total arrivals are expected to fall by between 12 and 14 per cent this year (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Shares rise almost another five per cent

    By a Staff Reporter

    SHARE prices continued their steep ascent yesterday, adding another 4.9 per cent to the all-share index, which closed at 106 points.

    The new hike has pulled the index up a whopping 18 per cent in the space of four days leaving the investing community stunned. Volume yesterday was 4.9 million.

    Analysts say the sudden euphoria is due to this weekend's elections in Turkey and the hopes this will lead to a final settlement of the Cyprus problem before EU accession.

    Trading opened slightly higher than Thursday's close and rose almost to 108 points but dipped to 104 mid-session before taking off again almost immediately.

    All sectors ended in the black with gains ranging from 1.51 per cent in the trading sector to 7.42 per cent in the financial services sector. Banks gained 6.17 per cent, which helped take the FTSE/CySE blue chips index higher by 6.54 per cent to 407 points.

    Bank of Cyprus added 12 cents to 1.51, while Laiki and Hellenic rose four cents each to 1.28 and 86 cents respectively. Gainers outpaced losers by 85:23 with 49 stocks remaining unchanged.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Clerides: we won't agree to anything in talks just for the sake of EU membership

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT will not agree to any unacceptable concessions on the Cyprus problem simply to secure the island's accession to the European Union, President Clerides has said.

    But he said that if political unity was maintained at home the difficulties could be handled, he said.

    In a speech late on Thursday to honour Andreas Pougiouros, former Mayor of occupied Famagusta, Clerides said that in the coming months Cyprus would be facing Turkey "in the most important diplomatic battle of the last 28 years".

    "It is a battle, which will determine the island's future. Our aim in the next crucial months is to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem which will be to the benefit of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and Cyprus to join the European Union," he said.

    "But we will not go ahead with unacceptable concessions to secure our accession (to the EU)," he added, making it clear that any solution must comply with international law, UN resolutions, human rights international conventions, the EU acquis communautaire and the relevant decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

    "With the greatest unity on the home front and continuing the proper strategy which we are following, I am optimistic that we will handle with success the difficult time which is ahead and secure the future of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in a united, prosperous Cyprus, member of the great European family," the President said.

    DIKO leader and presidential candidate Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday that whatever solution was reached would be bitter for the Greek Cypriot side. He said the island had paid a big price for the crime of the 1974 coup and that the price Greek Cypriots would have to pay for a solution would be just as big.

    A poll published by CyBC on Thursday night found that 48 per cent of Cypriots believed a solution to the Cyprus problem was now closer, while 43 per cent disagreed,

    A second poll by Mega TV on the same night said that 62 per cent of Cypriots would support an extension of President Clerides' term if a solution were found before the elections.

    Papadopoulos has said he would only stand down from the February 2003 presidential elections if there were a signed solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday the chances were that the UN Secretary General would submit a draft plan for a Cyprus settlement after the Turkish elections this Sunday.

    He said reports indicated the plan contained some elements that were acceptable, others that were tolerable, and others that were unacceptable.

    The Minister said there was a big possibility that the plan would be submitted before the Copenhagen European Council in mid-December, but said this would depend on various factors, including the state of health of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is recuperating from open-heart surgery in New York.

    In New York, UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan met Denktash on Thursday at the small hotel where the Turkish Cypriot leader has been staying since being discharged from hospital a week ago. The meeting lasted around 30 minutes and was purely social, Denktash's adviser Ergun Olgun told journalists.

    The two men did not discuss the Cyprus issue, Olgun said.

    After the visit, Annan told reporters he had visited an old friend and wished him well.

    Denktash was due to undergo a medical check-up later yesterday and hoped to return to Cyprus early next week but he is not expected to resume work for another month.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Tourists case: both were drunk, says lawyer

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    LAWYERS for the man accused of assault and battery and causing grievous bodily harm to a 22-year-old British tourist on September 16 yesterday presented their case for mitigation to the Assizes Court.

    The court heard detailed accounts of how 26-year-old Zinonas Mastrou physically abused the tourist in the seaside resort of Ayia Napa.

    The court was told that the two had left a club together, both having been drinking, at around 4am. The same day, around noon, the girl was found naked and seriously injured in Sotira village.

    The woman had multiple wounds and needed stitches and two operations. According to state pathologist, Panicos Stavrianos, the physical injuries she suffered are likely to remain with her for the rest of her life.

    Mastrou was initially arrested on a charge of rape which he denied. Once that was dropped, he pleaded guilty to the charge of grievous bodily harm.

    Mastrou's lawyer George Georgiou, argued that his client and the victim were both intoxicated and Mastrou did not have full control of his actions. He claimed the tourist had led Mastrou on by stripping for him, giving his client the impression of imminent sexual intercourse. But when she backed away, Mastrou became violent and a fight ensued, causing serious harm to the victim.

    Georgiou said the initial assessment by state pathologist Eleni Antoniou was in contradiction to what called the real turn of events, given that her initial report of rape was rejected by Stavrianos, when he replaced her in the case.

    He ended with a plea for leniency, expressing his client's regret and sadness for what happened. "If he wasn't drunk and her behaviour wasn't the way it was, he wouldn't be standing in the dock of the Assizes now," said Georgiou.

    The presiding judge said Mastrou's sentence would be announced on Monday morning and he ordered the defendant to remain in custody.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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