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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-11-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, November 7, 2002


  • [01] Cyprus wants the euro ASAP
  • [02] Make your own electricity for under £5,000
  • [03] Houses getting bigger and bigger
  • [04] Objections piling up to Strovolos cemetery tax
  • [05] BA seeks to dispel confusion over new fares
  • [06] Cancer patients left in limbo by malfunctioning machine
  • [07] Turkish settlers cannot stay, deputies warn
  • [08] Mayor admits discrepancies over sewage tax collection
  • [09] Teenager killed in motorcycle crash

  • [01] Cyprus wants the euro ASAP

    CYPRUS wants to adopt the euro as soon as possible after it joins the European Union, Finance Minister Takis Klerides said yesterday in Brussels.

    Klerides was speaking at a meeting of EU Finance Ministers and their counterparts from candidate countries, to discuss pre-accession economic programmes for 2002 relating to fiscal and monetary issues.

    Representatives from the applicant countries warned that in the first years after accession they were likely to be contributing more to the EU budget than they would actually be receiving from Brussels.

    But speakers at the meeting said pre-accession programmes had helped candidate countries in their monetary and fiscal policies and in efforts to promote macroeconomic stability.

    They also said that with the exception of Cyprus all other candidate countries had a much lower per capita income than that of existing EU member states.

    Klerides on Tuesday took part in a meeting of Finance Ministers from applicant countries, in which he presented Cyprus' strategy on how to benefit from available funds from the EU structural funds.

    He said the EU had given an undertaking to make available a large sum of money as special assistance to help the economic development of the areas of Cyprus currently under Turkish occupation and thus contribute to a more balanced development on the island.

    Cyprus will chair the next meeting of the 13 Finance Ministers from the candidate countries, to take place in the first half of next year under the Greek EU presidency.

    A recent article in the Financial Times said warnings had been issued to candidate countries not to rush to join the euro. The 10 new EU members have agreed to join the single currency at the earliest possibility, but economists believe some countries would be better off to wait before taking the leap, the newspaper said. Slovenia, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta and the Baltic states are expected to be among the first to join the euro, with the earliest entry date likely to be 2006.

    In a speech last month, Pedro Solbes, the EU's monetary affairs commissioner, warned each country needed to make fundamental economic reforms before joining the euro.

    He said the euro was already proving its worth within the EU and that it was not surprising that prospective candidates should want to join as soon as possible.

    "However, it is essential that joining the euro is not seen as an end in itself. The ultimate objective is full and successful economic integration, " he said.

    Solbes said he feared that if the new members were too quick to throw away their monetary tools -- exchange rate and interest rate policy -- they would find the transition to the euro difficult to manage.

    Under EU rules, new member states must meet the so-called Maastricht criteria before they can join the euro, with a deficit of below three per cent of gross domestic product, a national debt below 60 per cent of GDP and inflation firmly under control.

    They must also have a fully independent central bank and be a member of the revamped Exchange Rate Mechanism.

    The last requirement stipulates that the currency of a euro candidate must be a member of the ERM for at least two years and within a 15 per cent fluctuation band against the euro.

    "Hence, any country joining the EU in 2004 could not realistically join the euro until 2006," the Financial Times said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Make your own electricity for under £5,000

    By Alex Mita

    THE opening of the first photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing plant in Cyprus early next year will allow households to generate their own electricity using solar panels, it was announced yesterday.

    Planned government subsidies will reduce installation costs to under £5,000 per house, while surplus electricity production fed back into the national grid will be bought from households by the EAC.

    The plant, a joint venture between Cypriot company Enfoton Ltd and GSS Gebäude-Solarsysteme GmbH of Germany, aims to be cover the solar energy needs of the Eastern Mediterranean region and Cyprus.

    Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Managing Director of Enfoton, Alex Soteriou, said the movement towards renewable energies such as photovoltaics was a priority in Cyprus.

    "According to the latest European Union directives, each member state and EU accession candidate will have to generate 12 per cent of its total energy consumption from renewable energy sources by the year 2010," he said.

    Soteriou said the government was in the process of designing a model that would foresee the provision of substantial grants to facilitate investments in photovoltaic and other renewable energy systems.

    "Alongside those grants, a law will be implemented by the end of the year whereby the local utility provider (EAC) will have to compensate renewable energy producers for the electricity generated and fed back into the public electricity grid," Soteriou said.

    The cost of installing a grid-connected photovoltaic system for a typical 200 square metres would amount to £7,300, but with the government subsidy expected to be around 40 per cent, the cost would fall to £4,380.

    And with the EAC buy-back scheme for Solar Energy fed into the public grid (10 cents per kilowatt over 20 years), users of photovoltaic systems could receive up to £400 per annum.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Houses getting bigger and bigger

    THERE are 292,934 houses in the government-controlled areas of Cyprus, according to the results of last year's census, a 26 per cent rise on the last census 10 years ago.

    The total number of dwellings last year reached 293,985, but only 292,934 were residences.

    Of the rest, 405 were shacks or caravans, 390 were garages, shops or storage rooms, while 256 were homes for the elderly and hotels.

    But more striking was the increase in size of homes, with the percentage rise since 1992 going up with every extra bedroom in a house. So while the number of one and two-bedroom houses were both down on 1992 (10.8 and 4.3 per cent respectively), it was uphill all the way after that, with three- bedroom houses up 5.4 per cent, five bedroom houses up 14.7 per cent, seven- room houses up 55.1 per cent, and houses of 10 bedrooms and over up a staggering 234 per cent.

    Out of 222,393 inhabited residencies in the free areas, 2,692 had over 10 rooms and 4,384 had nine rooms.

    Homes with eight rooms, reached 10,816, while 26,831 houses had seven rooms.

    Of the normal residencies, 124,526 were detached houses, 47,752 were semidetached, 28,605 were terraced, and 81,886 were flats in apartment blocs, which notched a 52.8 per cent increase compared to the 1992 census.

    The census also recorded 9,519 outhouses.

    Most of the residencies on the island were built after 1980 - 55 per cent - while 7.4 per cent - 21,692 - were built before 1945.

    According to the survey, 27.2 per cent of the homes had central heating while 9.4 per cent had split units.

    One third of households said they had a computer while one fifth had Internet access.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Objections piling up to Strovolos cemetery tax

    THE NICOSIA District Officer has received around 3,000 objections to the additional burial tax demanded from each Strovolos household to finance the building of a new public cemetery in Nisou, Phileleftheros said yesterday.

    According to the report, at least a thousand of the objections are legitimate, given that the objectors are Maronite or of some other religion and so are not legally obliged to pay burial tax for the new cemetery.

    However, many complaints come from residents who have no official justification for exemption. For example, refugees living outside refugee estates demand to pay the same charge as those that live within the estate. The report referred to one resident who went directly to Strovolos mayor, Savvas Iliophotou, complaining that as a 35-year-old resident, he should be charged less than the elderly given that they were likely to die much sooner than him. The mayor reportedly replied, "Bring me a letter from your doctor that you're going to die after the elderly and I'll give you an exemption".

    The total cost of the new cemetery, which will hold up to 5,351 graves for a population of over 70,000, will reach approximately £1,400,000. Households are expected to pay a one-time fee of £42 in two instalments by the end of the year. Concessions have been made for people living alone (£30), on refugee estates (£10) and the elderly (£6). Those that are not on a state pension are charged according to the level of their pension.

    According to the report, a number of residents are refusing to pay and have taken the matter to the courts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] BA seeks to dispel confusion over new fares

    BRITISH Airways (BA) yesterday set out its new fares policy to allay public confusion about the new structure of ticket prices, which recently came into effect.

    The new low fares offered by BA and Cyprus Airways have led to confusion over when the cheaper tickets can be made available and when they cannot. Several travel agents have complained of being unable to find the cheaper fares for customers and one described the system as a `lottery'.

    However, BA's sales manager for Cyprus Marianna Trokoudes told a news conference that the new £150 fare from Larnaca to London was not a seasonal offer "but a new concept in pricing" and the first of its kind to be introduced by a full service airline for the benefit of the traveller, and available throughout the year.

    She said the new fare structure featured just three fare types and 10 selling classes. The selling classes can be combined for each sector so that customers can choose a fully flexible fare type for the outbound sector but return in one of the new less flexible and lower fares and vice versa.

    "Availability is a key factor in determining the fare so booking early will usually result in the cheapest fares being offered," she said. "Fares are based on the level of flexibility required. Flexible fares allow for changes and refunds, restricted fare passengers can only travel on the flight they booked for." Combining fares this way may lead to savings of as much as 32 per cent, she added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Cancer patients left in limbo by malfunctioning machine

    AROUND 40 cancer patients have been left without radiotherapy due to a malfunction of the equipment at the Nicosia general hospital, the government doctors' union (PASYKI) charged yesterday.

    PASYKI chairman Stavros Stavrou said they had warned about the possibility and had asked for new equipment to be purchased, but nothing was done.

    Stavrou said government doctors were not to blame for the current situation and urged "those who put cancer patients at risk to assume their responsibilities and stop passing the buck".

    He said doctors did not want to leave patients exposed, and had told the ministry they were willing to work at the Bank of Cyprus' (BoC) Oncology Centre to treat their patients as well as the centre's. The Oncology Centre is widely seen as a state-of-the-art facility offering first-class treatment.

    "We are willing to go as a group to continue the therapy of these patients and also cover the needs of the centre," Stavrou said.

    And he added that, contrary to popular belief, the BoC centre did have waiting lists of over two months.

    Stavrou charged the waiting lists could easily be disguised by telling patients who had been told they needed radiotherapy as soon as possible that the specific therapy was not in fact so urgent.

    Stavrou reiterated his union's decision to treat patients at the centre, but was quick to charge the BoC would not agree.

    He added the state doctors would go to the centre as a group, warning they would not obey orders from "the bankers".

    "We will co-operate with our colleagues there, but we won't obey the bankers' orders," Stavrou said.

    There are currently 20 cancer patients in need of treatment, while around 20 more are on the waiting list, Stavrou said.

    He added that nine had already been accepted for treatment at the BoC centre.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Turkish settlers cannot stay, deputies warn

    By George Psyllides

    DEPUTIES warned yesterday they could never accept a solution of the Cyprus problem that allowed Turkish settlers to stay on the island.

    AKEL deputy Doros Christodoulides charged before the House Refugee Committee that the government was ignoring the settler issue, casting doubt on the feasibility of the UN solution plan expected to be submitted soon.

    But Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou insisted the issue had been discussed during the talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, stressing there was no way there would be a partnership with the settlers in case of a settlement.

    The committee heard from the director of the intelligence service, Nicos Ioannou, that there were 129,000 Turkish settlers in the occupied areas, heavily outnumbering the 75,000 Turkish Cypriots.

    And he added that, on top of that, there were 38,000 Turkish troops with their families, noting the psychological pressure such a situation imposed on the remaining indigenous Turkish Cypriots.

    Papapetrou's reassurances were echoed by the head of the Cyprus desk at the Foreign Ministry, Tassos Tzionis, who insisted, "negotiators are conscious of the seriousness of the issue, which has been the object of discussions and has affected several aspects of the Cyprus problem".

    But committee chairman Aristofanis Georgiou warned the government that no deputy or Cypriot citizen could accept the illegality of Denktash's policy of ethnic cleansing and settlement of mainland Turks.

    DISY deputy Lefteris Christoforou described the settlement of the occupied areas as a war crime, stressing that a unified strategy should be drawn up, aiming at getting rid of all the settlers.

    DIKO deputy Antigoni Papadopoulou said the issue of settlers was a "thorn" and an obstacle in the path of a solution, arguing that settlers were neither "illegal immigrants nor seasonal workers" as some politicians wrongly called them.

    But the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Republican party, Mehmet Ali Talat, argued yesterday that the settlers were not an obstacle to a solution.

    Speaking after a meeting with KISOS chief and presidential candidate Yiannakis Omirou, Talat said settlers too wanted a settlement because they faced the same financial hardships as the Turkish Cypriots.

    "Rest assured that the majority of settlers are for a solution, despite the uncertainty of their future," Talat said.

    Talat added that the figures published by the EU concerning the number of settlers were misleading, because they had been given by the Greek Cypriot side.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Mayor admits discrepancies over sewage tax collection

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    NICOSIA Mayor Michalakis Zampelas acknowledged yesterday that collection of the new sewage tax levied on households of greater Nicosia had exposed discrepancies in the system. 

    The tax goes towards a £150 million sewage project to connect residents of the greater Nicosia area -- around 320,000 people or almost half the island's population -- to a central sewage system by 2010. The yearly sum, to be charged over the next 18 years, is calculated at 0.3 per cent of the value of a house in 1980.

    Zampelas said the deadline for the first collection, estimated to reach £2.8 million, had been pushed back to the end of February 2003 to give residents more time to pay.

    According to Phileleftheros, the Sewage Board has already collected £300, 000 from the municipalities of greater Nicosia.

    But collection of the new tax has revealed a discrepancy in the system, admitted Zampelas. "A discrepancy has come up in our evaluations and we are trying to correct that," he said. "At the moment there are recent buildings that are not yet known to the Land Registry or have not been valued yet. This means that the tax only gets calculated on the 1980 value of the property, without including the valuation of new buildings."

    The mayor said the problem would be rectified by notifying the Land Registry of all buildings built on property after 1980, so as to avoid discrepancies between buildings erected before 1980 and after.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Teenager killed in motorcycle crash

    A 16-YEAR-OLD boy was killed last night in a tragic road accident in Larnaca when his motorcycle collided with a motor vehicle driven by 48-year- old Nicos Hadjiioannou.

    Kenneth Vasiliades from Ayia Ioanni, Larnaca, and his passenger, 18-year- old Greek soldier Pantelis Deligranakis, were riding without helmets near the Larnaca Municipal Park when they collided with Hadhiioannou's car.

    Vasiliades died instantly while Deligranakis was taken to Larnaca's Emergency Unit for treatment.

    Police are investigating the circumstances of the crash.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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