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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-11-05

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

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


Tuesday, November 5, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Man jailed for assault on tourist
  • [02] Market up again: investors' group warns of `trap'
  • [03] Savvides: no real improvement in Archbishop's mental health
  • [04] Two jailed for stealing gun
  • [05] Hospital treatment for hunger striker
  • [06] Radiomarathon launches into fundraising action
  • [07] Patients' rights to be enshrined in law
  • [08] Police investigate Internet child porn claims
  • [09] Cyprus in shipping tangle over New England shipping collision

  • [01] Man jailed for assault on tourist

    By George Psyllides

    A 26-YEAR-old diver from the Famagusta district was yesterday jailed for three years for the vicious assault against a British woman who was abandoned bleeding and half naked outside Ayia Napa in September.

    The permanent Assizes Court, convening in Larnaca, said the defendant's behaviour had been "brutal and unprecedented" and indicated complete disregard of other peoples' basic rights, to the extent of barbarism.

    The court heard that the 22-year-old tourist from Lancashire had arrived on the island for two weeks on September 15.

    She was staying in an Ayia Napa hotel with a friend and on the next night took part in a pub-crawl organised by a tour operator.

    At 1.30am, the woman, who had had a lot to drink, found herself in the same nightclub with defendant Zinonas Mastrou from the village of Liopetri. According to testimony, they left the club together at 4am.

    The court was told that Mastrou and the tourist got into his car and left the area.

    At 11.30am the next morning, the 22-year-old was found beaten and naked from the waist down in the yard of a holiday home on the secluded Ayia Thekla coast.

    She needed emergency surgery and spent several days in hospital after her ordeal, which doctors said could have killed her had her injuries remained unattended for much longer.

    The court heard that the defendant had thought the woman was willing to have sex with him, but when he realised that she was not, he hit her, inflicting injuries on various parts of her body.

    The extent of the injuries, as described in testimonies and confirmed by photographs clearly indicated the ferocity of the assault, the court said.

    The court added that the grievous harm inflicted to her rectum and anus, which doctors say will cause long-term suffering, ruled out the possibility that the defendant's conduct had anything to do with amorous activities.

    Yesterday's sentencing came after Mastrou pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the tourist.

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

    Grievous bodily harm carries a maximum sentence of seven years under Cypriot law.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Market up again: investors' group warns of `trap'

    By Jean Christou

    THE STOCK market continued its mysterious ascension yesterday, adding another 5.2 per cent to the all-share index, with a massive 10.3 million volume, unseen since the halcyon days of 1999.

    But the Investors Association was not only unimpressed by the 23 per cent hike in a single week, it went as far as to warn investors that they were being set up for a fall.

    Analysts have put the steep rise down to political developments, such as the prospect of a solution to the Cyprus problem, next month's EU summit in Copenhagen, which is expected to give the green light to the island's accession, and the apparently favourable results of the Turkish elections at the weekend.

    However, Demetris Hadjipapas, president of the Investors' Association, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that political developments had nothing to do with the meteoric rise in share prices and that they were merely being cited as an excuse.

    "It's a trap," he said. "There is no reason for this climbing up and I feel that they will trap some more people. The financial situation of the companies has not changed at all and we would like them to explain to us why they are going up. Their financial results are absolutely - excuse the word - rubbish."

    Hadjipapas said institutional investors were artificially hiking the market "because if it doesn't go up and down they won't have any profits".

    And despite taking advice, he said that many investors were falling into the same trap as before.

    "They are not choosing companies based on financial results. They are just buying cheap stuff or whatever," he said. "For that reason, the government and the stock exchange have to be blamed. We asked them to educate the investors and they refused to do it."

    The xak.com analyst said yesterday he too had voiced concern over the recent boom, and cautioned investors to think rationally and be choosy when positioning themselves in the market. "However, the statements of the association characterising the recent CSE gains as a `trap' and `market games' are very broad and may send out wrong signals," he said.

    "If the association has evidence or suspicions regarding certain actions or group of people plotting against investors, they need to come forward and inform authorities or state specific scenarios. Unless they have concrete evidence, their calls for investors to `stay away from the CSE' might in the end hurt the same individuals they are trying to protect. Therefore, they must clarify their position and their claims. Once they do so, then investors can weigh the evidence and decide for themselves whether or not they should stay away form the CSE."

    He said that if the upward trend continued for the remainder of the year, the annual earnings of listed companies for 2002 would improve substantially. "Therefore, dramatic improvements might be at hand and the remaining two months before year's end will be crucial."

    Yesterday all sectors recorded gains ranging from 0.4 per cent in the tourism sector to 9.4 per cent in the finance sector and 6.6 per cent for banks, mainly due to Bank of Cyprus, which shot up 13 cents to 1.64. Laiki gained seven cents to 1.34 and Hellenic two cents to 88 cents.

    Eighty-six titles recorded gains compared to only 24 decliners and 46 that closed unchanged.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Savvides: no real improvement in Archbishop's mental health

    By a Staff Reporter

    THERE has not been any spectacular improvement in the Archbishop's mental condition and his ability to communicate, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday.

    But the minister did say that the Archbishop had showed some progress in his movement since the day he returned from Athens last month.

    "There is no spectacular improvement in his mental and communication abilities and the doctors who are expected from abroad will advise us if there is anything more we could do to help the Archbishop further," Savvides said.

    He added that the doctors had been asked to provide a "substantiated and specific scientific diagnosis" on whether the Archbishop was suffering from an illness that did not allow high expectations concerning his progress.

    Answering complaints by the Archbishop's relatives that they were being barred from entering the Archbishopric, Savvides said his ministry was responsible for the Archbishop's health and had no authority over who saw him or not.

    He said that his ministry had already suggested that visiting hours should be specific and short, adding that if the Archbishop was in hospital then the ministry would decide who visited him and when.

    Savvides said it was a waste of time to put pressure on the ministry about what the Archbishop ate or who got to visit him as they had no power to impose anything.

    "There is a dietician in the group of doctors and they can make their complaints there; they are asking me to do things that I have absolutely no power to do," Savvides said.

    The minister said the Archbishop had never told him he wanted to quit, arguing that a patient who heard endless scenarios about his future was liable to worry.

    Savvides warned such worries could translate into a lack of co-operation with doctors, making their job harder and delaying the patient's recovery.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Two jailed for stealing gun

    By a Staff Reporter

    A LARNACA criminal court yesterday handed out a stern sentence of three-and- a-half years imprisonment to two men charged with breaking and entering, theft, illegal possession of a firearm and arson.

    Christakis Georgiou Christou, 26, and 25-year-old Pantelis Christaki Miltiadous pleaded guilty to the string of charges. According to the facts heard in court, on August 5 the two defendants broke into a house in Larnaca and stole an army-issue G3 automatic, jewellery and cash. After fleeing the scene, they ditched a motorbike they had stolen from Ayia Napa and set in on fire so as to erase any trace of fingerprints.

    The defendants were seen leaving the house they robbed by a neighbour.

    The defence lawyer asked the court for a mitigated sentence, arguing that the crime was spur-of-the-moment and that the defendants had no intention of actually using the G3 machine gun.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Hospital treatment for hunger striker

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE EX-POLICEMAN on hunger strike in Nicosia's Eleftheria Square since last Tuesday was rushed to hospital by ambulance yesterday after his condition seriously deteriorated. The 33-year-old man had been camping in the square in protest at what he described as abusive and unfair treatment by the police force.

    Andreas Konstandinou's physical health was deteriorating after six days of living off just water. His wife told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that he was so weakened by his ordeal that they had to call an ambulance. After receiving hospital treatment, Konstandinou was released and walked barefoot back to his makeshift camp since nobody was available to pick him up.

    "Everyday people on the street ask about him and his plight. They show concern and ask us if we need any support. But not one of the many dignitaries that have come here to the square to celebrate the Radiomarathon have inquired as to his problem or cause," said his wife. "I just can't believe it and don't understand why ordinary people care but nobody else who has the ability to do something about it."

    Konstandinou told the Cyprus Mail last week that he was protesting at what he said was his unfair dismissed by the police for "psychological problems" even though two medical reports confirmed that he was not suffering any such problems. He said that as a result he could not find a job anywhere and complained of police harassment after he took the issue to court.

    Konstandinou has said he just wants to clear his name and get on with his life. His wife believes he is set on continuing with his hunger strike until action is taken to vindicate his name.

    Police were yesterday unwilling to comment on the allegations.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Radiomarathon launches into fundraising action

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE annual `Radiomarathon of Love' charity event started off at the break of dawn yesterday with 58 kiosks set up throughout the island collecting money for children with special needs. The event, running into its 13th year, was organised by Laiki Bank and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) with the support of the Phileleftheros Group.

    The event ends today with 12 mobile money collectors travelling island-wide to complement the ad-hoc kiosks in an effort to raise funds for the better quality of life for children with special needs.

    Supporters of the two-day charity event include popular Greek stars Despina Vandi, Keti Garbi and Dionysis Schinas, flown over by Cyprus Airways. Laiki's Radiomarathon organiser Rodoulla Hadjikyriakou informed reporters before the event that the charity had succeeded in raising 10 million in Cyprus and 1.5 million abroad in the 13 years since its beginning. "Many of these children with special needs now graduate from the same school as other children. They fit in well with other children and their learning environment," she said.

    The fund-raising festivities actually began on Saturday with a one-day organised trip to Crete, aptly titled `The Love Flight'. The flight was sponsored by Cyprus Airways, allowing the 200 ticket price to go directly to Radiomarathon's account. Around 200 passengers, organisers and flight crew left Larnaca airport bright and early Saturday morning headed for the charm and beauty of Crete's second largest city, Chania.

    The group was taken in a five-coach convoy to the burial place of Eleftherios Venizelos and his son, Sofoclis, in Akrotiri, from where they witnessed the majestic beauty of Chania port, designed by the same Venetian architect who made the port of Kyrenia.

    As the tourists emptied their coaches they were greeted by a traditional folk band dressed in Cretan attire playing songs that roused the interests of one Limassol guest who couldn't wait till dinner to break into dance. A little boy in the outfit stood solemn in customary costume, unruffled by the flash of numerous digital cameras. Without flinching, he waited for the parade to pass before breathing a sigh of relief, "I never thought so many people could come from one plane."

    The group was then taken to the old part of Chania surrounding the port where people dispersed into areas of preference. Some walked through the old town, while others went straight for cafes to make their introductions to the local intoxicator, Raki. And of course, many of many. went shopping.

    Eventually the guests boarded their tourist coaches, and were confidently guided through the breathtaking twists and turns of the Therissos Mountains towards a local tavern for food and dance.

    A show of true Cretan hospitality awaited the crowd as five black-clad elders stood at the foot of the tavern singing `rizitika' to welcome their guests. Their fine performance was followed by a feast of traditional Cretan dishes and spirited melodies and dances telling of the history of Crete and its closeness with the Cypriot people. In turn, good food, wine and more Raki soon conspired to lift revellers off their seats and onto the dance floor.

    When the time had come to leave, both Cretans and Cypriots were ready to continue the merriment into the night. But, in the presence of CY chairman Haris Loizides, all agreed that one shouldn't be late for a Cyprus Airways flight. So, with more singing and laughter on the way home, the group finally landed at Larnaca airport at nine in the evening, definitely not rested, but certainly contented.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Patients' rights to be enshrined in law

    By Alexia Saoulli

    IT WON'T be long before basic patients' rights are finally enshrined by law, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday in an announcement hailed by medical authorities as well as patient support groups.

    Marking the beginning of European Week Against Cancer, which this year focuses on cancer patients' rights, Savvides announced a recent Cabinet decision to approve a Ministry proposal to set up a committee which would study all existing international laws on patient rights in order to draw up similar legislation for Cyprus.

    Cancer struck both men and women, irrespective of age, with often devastating health and social consequences, said Savvides. Although progress made in patient care, diagnosis and treatment of the disease was much improved, this could also leave patients exposed and in danger of having their rights and freedoms eroded by the medical profession, he said.

    "That is why all patients' rights must be recognised and secured legally," he said. Such rights would include: equal access to modern medicine, active participation during use of medical services, dignity and respect of personal life, complete and multidimensional medical information and information confidentiality.

    Once the law is passed, patients will no longer have to rely on unwritten codes of ethics to ensure their rights are not violated by the medical profession, but will be able to resort to legal means, according to Patients' Rights Movement (KDDA) President Christos Eliades.

    Patients' rights were nothing more than the protection of basic human rights, as they were designed to protect human activity within health services, he said.

    "Cyprus is one of the few remaining European countries that has not yet passed legislation that recognises and secures patient rights," said Eliades.

    The Anti-Cancer Society, Pancyprian Cancer Patients and Friends Association and the Cyprus Medical Association all applauded the Health Ministry for setting the wheels in motion for a patients' rights law.

    "We believe that recognising patient rights and protecting them effectively through legal means will only help in upgrading medical services," said member of the Anti-Cancer Society, Dr. Adamos Adamou.

    The Medical Association also supported the move, pointing to its introduction of a signed patient consent form, to be approved by its board shortly, as its way of improving patient care and services on the island.

    "Patients in both the private and public sector will have to be fully briefed on all medical services they will be subjected to and to what extent that intervention would affect their life, including consequences and side-effects. Only once patients are satisfied that their questions have all been answered can the doctor ask them to sign a consent form for the procedure to go ahead," said Medical Association President Dr. Antonis Vassiliou.

    Pancyprian Cancer Patients and Friends Association President Dr. Anna Achilleoudes said the patients' rights law would only help patients, health carers and medical institutions operate together in order to ensure the best possible and most humane treatment, which would in turn benefit a patient's medical care.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Police investigate Internet child porn claims

    By a Staff Reporter

    NICOSIA'S Criminal Investigation Division are investigating reports that Cypriots are involved in an Internet-based child pornography ring, police confirmed yesterday.

    Reports in Alithia newspaper yesterday said Greek police officials were investigating incestuous child pornography websites with links to the island. Specifically, on Saturday, Cyprus' Interpol was contacted in writing concerning the case, after its Attica Service Minors Protection Department received information that certain individuals had designed a website using a Cypriot Internet Services company, said the paper.

    But, according to Alithia, the two names Greek authorities had given police turned out to be a false lead, since they did not exist.

    Nonetheless, the report quoted reliable sources as saying further developments in Greece would more than likely lead to arrests of people linked to the child pornography ring in Cyrus as well.

    In Greece, a 44-year-old businessman and 23-year-old man are being held in connection with the case. Meanwhile, investigators are said to be carrying out examinations on a computer, CD-ROM and several floppy disks belonging to the former.

    Police in Cyprus were yesterday unwilling to discuss details of the case and only said the information they had received was being investigated.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Cyprus in shipping tangle over New England shipping collision

    By Elias Hazou

    CYPRUS may play a crucial part in determining how justice is served for a tragic accident at sea last year that cost the lives of three Americans, in an affair complicated by issues of jurisdictions.

    In August 2001, the tanker Virgo collided with the Starbound fishing vessel some 200 kilometres off the coast of New England, in international waters.

    The Virgo is registered in Cyprus. Her owner and crew are Russian. The ship's underwriters are British. The fishing vessel and its crew are American and its underwriters are probably American as well. The ship is moored in a Canadian port.

    Cypriot authorities were angered at Canada and the United States when their law enforcement officials boarded the Russian tanker and initiated investigations. The shipping department argued that the US-Canadian investigation was in breach of the UN Maritime Convention.

    US authorities charged the captain, the second mate and the wheelsman of the Virgo with involuntary manslaughter and other charges. The owner of the fishing vessel and the families of two of the three deceased crewmen have filed suit in the Federal Court of Canada.

    A source at the foreign ministry told the Cyprus Mail that the Russian tanker owners had awarded compensation to the victims' families, adding that the sole issue now pending was the serving of justice.

    No court has yet decided the facts of the case. The Virgo may be the ship that collided with the Starbound, yet it is also thought possible that another ship was in collision with the fishing vessel. Even assuming that the Virgo is the right ship, many questions remain, both with respect to jurisdiction and liability.

    The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982 states that the only nations who may institute criminal and disciplinary proceedings against a crewmember in a collision case are the flag state of the ship and the crewmembers' own countries. Cyprus has signed and ratified this treaty, so has the Russian Federation. Canada has signed it but not ratified it. The United States has neither signed nor ratified it. Many commentators, however, maintain that the convention now forms part of customary international law.

    But the other peculiarity in the Virgo case is that the accused are not within the jurisdiction of the victims' country.

    The American authorities in the Virgo case, however, are not relying on the international conventions, but on the Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of United States of America on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

    Canada brought the terms of the treaty into force with the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. The agreement only permits the transfers of persons in custody when the person in custody consents to the transfer.

    The Americans need to use the Canadian Extradition Act to authorize the transfer of individuals to the United States to stand trial, in this case, for involuntary manslaughter and other offences.

    Press reports said that the US government had asked Cyprus to sign a similar mutual legal assistance treaty. The issue is pending, as the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Communications have submitted to the Cabinet a proposal on how the government should handle the matter.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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