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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-11-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, November 8, 2002


  • [01] Clerides: Annan will decide this week
  • [02] Turkish jets buzz CY plane
  • [03] Woman wins European Court battle over expropriation
  • [04] Beware brand name fakes on the high street
  • [05] Oncology Centre insists in can treat hospital patients
  • [06] Ioannides seeks new merit-bases school appointments system

  • [01] Clerides: Annan will decide this week

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides said yesterday that UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan would decide this week whether or not he was going to put forward a Cyprus plan.

    In a written statement, Clerides put an end to weeks of speculation regarding a possible UN-scripted solution to reunite the island.

    Annan said earlier this week that he was still undecided as to his next move.

    "This week, the Secretary-general will decide if and to what extent he is going to submit a plan," Clerides said. "Given that it's already the weekend and he has not yet decided, then we are going to have to wait until next week (before its submitted)."

    Clerides said it was very early to make any predictions on the content of a Cyprus settlement because the issue was progressing in tandem with developments in Turkey, which has just changed its government.

    He has already told the UN Secretary-general that the Greek Cypriot side will not accept any type of a solution just to secure EU accession.

    Cyprus, a candidate for EU membership, is expected to be given the green light for entry to the bloc at the EU summit in Copenhagen next month, a deadline that has left international mediators scrambling to reach a settlement to smooth the way.

    But Annan is unlikely to submit a settlement plan until Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash returns to the island following heart surgery in the US early last month.

    Denktash's adviser Ergun Olgun told journalists in New York that the Turkish Cypriot leader planned to return to the island on November 13 and would take up his duties on the Cyprus issue on November 18, if he is given the all-clear by doctors tomorrow.

    Olgun said Denktash would undergo another medical check-up today and if doctors were satisfied with his progress they would give him the green light to leave New York on November 12.

    Denktash's health was good, Olgun said, adding that he was going on walks and doing all the exercises ordered by his doctors. He was also showing a keen interest in what was going on with the Cyprus problem and following daily news reports in the Greek and Turkish Cypriot media. Olgun has also briefed Denktash on his own meetings with the UN special adviser for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto.

    The meetings were held with the aim of conveying the views of the Turkish Cypriot side to the UN. Olgun's talks with De Soto are due to continue until Denktash takes up his duties again.

    Denktash's homecoming will coincide with the November 15 anniversary of the 1983 declaration of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north, recognised only by Turkey.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the head of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which swept into power in last Sunday's elections, is also due on the island to mark the anniversary. Erdogan will visit the north before heading to Greece on November 18.

    Erdogan, whose party won a landslide victory at the polls, has said he supports Cyprus' re-unification on the basis of the "Belgian model", a federal state system with a strong central administration. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side have long favoured a loose confederation of two separate sovereign states. Erdogan later said his comment had been misunderstood and that there was no change in Turkish policy on Cyprus.

    Ankara has predicted the UN would submit its proposals for Cyprus within two weeks, but the plan would likely be "no closer to the vision of the Greek Cypriots than to ours," one Turkish official said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Turkish jets buzz CY plane

    CYPRUS AIRWAYS (CY) yesterday confirmed that a morning flight from Athens had been buzzed by a pair of Turkish jets just outside the Nicosia flight information region (FIR).

    Company spokesman Tassos Angeli told the Cyprus Mail that the two jets flew close to the plane but the flight had not been disrupted in any way.

    "The captain had been warned (about the jets) by the Athens air traffic control," Angeli said.

    CY flight 323 was flying at 33,000 around 35 nautical miles west of the island of Rhodes when the incident happened at around 10.34am.

    Ten minutes earlier, the Turkish jets buzzed Olympic Airways flight 332 flying from Larnaca to Athens.

    The incident happened in the same area around 35 nautical miles from Rhodes.

    It is understood that the civil aviation authority will file a formal complaint about the incident.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Woman wins European Court battle over expropriation

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights has ruled that Cyprus violated the human rights of one of its citizens in a land expropriation battle marked by 13 years of legal wranglings.

    The Court ruled against the state for violating Loukia Serghidou's right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time and her right to protection of property.

    The case began in 1973 when the state expropriated 2,060 square feet of Serghidou's plot of land on Griva Dighenis Avenue in Nicosia as part of a street-widening scheme. The state used the land to widen the road under Article 13 of the Road and Building Law without personally informing Serghidou of the extraction, or offering any form of compensation.

    Serghidou noticed the expropriation by chance in 1989 after receiving a Government Survey Plan, which she had requested from the Land Registry for another purpose. She began court proceedings that same year to declare void the decision to take part of her land and use it for the construction of a public road. In 1993, the Supreme Court rejected the application as out of time since it had been filed more than 75 days after publication of the government notice in 1973.

    Meanwhile, a year earlier, Serghidou had transferred the property to her children. Continuing with the drawn-out legal process, she filed an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Court in 1993, which was dismissed five years later on the ground that she no longer had legal standing in respect of the property because it had been transferred to her children.

    Thirteen years of legal wrangling and 29 years after appropriation of the land, her determination finally paid off as retreat to the ECHR in 1998 with lawyer, George Savvides, concluded in her favour last Tuesday. The European Court ruled that the transfer of property to her children did not entail a loss of her legal interest in the disputed area since the applicant had only transferred the undisputed part, the rest of the plot, to her children.

    Secondly, the Court held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 6 (1) of the European Convention of Human Rights with respect to the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time. The Court noted that the length of proceedings lasted eight years, three months and 10 days, over two levels of jurisdiction for a case that was not at all complex. In both cases, the Supreme Court dismissed Serghidou's claims on procedural grounds, not on points of law. The Court further noted that throughout the proceedings, the two cases were adjourned no less than 10 times.

    Regarding her access to a court, the Court observed that was not personally notified of the expropriation of her land by the Nicosia Municipality and therefore, was time-barred from objecting through no fault of her own.

    The Court gave the State and the applicant eight weeks to decide on an appropriate amount of compensation. If they fail to do so within that time, the Court will determine a just sum.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Beware brand name fakes on the high street

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE PEDDLING of imitation brand-name products as originals remains a cause for concern, a full year after the Cyprus Mail first highlighted the problem, a Commerce Ministry official said yesterday. The victims are unsuspecting consumers, who pay a lot of money in good faith for a product they believe to be the real thing.

    But brand owners and governments are also victims, with five to eight per cent of all global trade subject to counterfeit, costing an estimated revenue loss of half a trillion dollars, with an annual cost to global economies of $500 billion, Reuters said yesterday.

    Phileleftheros reported yesterday that police had recently seized 60 fake Louis Vuitton bags being sold in a Nicosia store for around 350 a bag, when they had been purchased from China for just 2-8. One hundred and seventy `American' brand-name jeans had also been found in a Limassol warehouse, it said. The jeans were going to be sold for 49 a pair, when they had only cost 8-13 to buy from Greece.

    "This is an annual problem that has never managed to be stamped out," Commercial and Industrial Officer Marios Droushiotis told the Mail yesterday.

    According to a Ministry source, the problem lay in the fact that a number of imitation products were so well made that unsuspecting shoppers could not tell what they were buying.

    "It's difficult, if not impossible, for your average consumer to be able to tell the difference between a fake and an original. It's a mater of experience and trained observation."

    Although cheaper imitations were easier to spot, particularly if prices were much below normal, this was not always the case.

    "Some shops do not drastically reduce the price of imitations, fooling customers into believing it's the real thing," he said.

    The worst part was that these products were not being peddled by door-to- door salesmen or travelling street sellers, but being sold at established shops or department stores, the source said.

    "Everyone is at risk and it's quite likely you'll find yourself walking into a shop and buying something in good faith, when in fact it's a very good imitation."

    Asked whether or not there was an influx of such imitation products in the run-up to Christmas, he said: "I don't think there is a greater influx of fake products during that time, it's just that more consumers shop then and so there's a greater chance of purchasing imitation goods unawares."

    The penalty for a shopkeeper selling imitation products is a fine of up to 1,000 and/or one year in prison, said Droushiotis. But shops were not named until they were found guilty in court, he added. "Our law states that you are innocent until proved guilty, so they cannot be named until they have been found guilty in court." He added that no one had been imprisoned so far and the maximum fine imposed had been around 500-600.

    But, there were times stores were not at fault, since they had been sold false goods unawares by their suppliers, said the Ministry source.

    "The shop owners then give us their invoices, and the name of their suppliers or the importer, and we press charges against them, not the shop."

    However, Cyprus Consumers Association General Manager Dinos Ioannou yesterday disagreed with this system.

    "Even if a well known department store has been selling imitation products unawares, it should be held accountable, as it was responsible for checking its stock before selling it."

    He said it was a consumer's legal right to sue a department store, demanding his or her money back; if the store then wished to sue its supplier, it could do so.

    Both the Commerce Ministry and Consumers Association based their investigations on consumer complaints. The primary imitation products consumers should be on the look out for are clothes, electrical goods and audiovisual products such as DVDs and CDs, warned the Ministry official.

    Although statistics for this year's confiscations were not available yesterday, Droushiotis who was involved in the investigations last year, said that during 2001 nearly 80,000 items had been impounded and destroyed.

    Despite efforts by customs officers to stamp out the traffic, not all containers could be checked and some items slipped through the net and onto the market, a customs official said yesterday "Based on our experience, we look out for containers coming from Russia, Bulgaria, China, Thailand, the UK, America and Greece," he said.

    "However, it is not possible to check every single container and so sometimes items declared on the invoice that do not correspond with items in the containers escape our attention and find themselves on shop shelves."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Oncology Centre insists in can treat hospital patients

    By George Psyllides

    THE Bank of Cyprus (BoC) oncology centre has given assurances that it could treat cancer patients in need of radiotherapy, the chairman of the House Health Committee Antonis Karas said yesterday.

    The government doctors' union (PASYKI) charged on Wednesday that around 40 cancer patients had been left without radiotherapy due to a malfunction of the equipment at the Nicosia general hospital.

    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.

    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.

    Yesterday, Karas urged radiotherapists and doctors at the Nicosia general hospital to "put any fair demands aside" and go to the oncology centre in order to "provide the treatment patients are entitled to and the state is obliged to provide".

    Karas suggested that the medical staff from the hospital should create a separate unit to operate one of the two linear accelerators at the BoC oncology centre.

    He added that the oncology centre had assured that it could treat all the patients in need of radiotherapy.

    "There is no problem in providing the necessary treatment and no one should worry about not being treated," Karas said.

    Citing Stavrou's pledge that government doctors were ready to work at the centre, Karas said they expected the matter to be settled as soon as possible.

    Concerning the extra shift that would be necessary to enable the oncology centre to treat more patients, Karas noted that it was the responsibility of the general hospital staff to go to the centre, which has the equipment for treating more patients.

    Karas added that the committee would discuss the issue during its next session on Thursday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Ioannides seeks new merit-bases school appointments system

    TEACHERS should be made to pass examinations before being appointed to posts in state schools, Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides believes.

    The minister is known to want to overhaul the current system whereby graduates register with the Ministry and are called up to work when their turn comes up on the list. Teaching unions, however, are fiercely opposed to the move.

    Ioannides, however, fears that if the existing system does not change before Cyprus' EU accession, there will be considerable complications. But the difference this time is that he has made specific proposals for the new teacher appointment system, according to Phileleftheros.

    First, candidates would be chosen on merit rather than seniority and would have to prove that they were the best person for the job at that time. Secondly, a clear-cut examination procedure would be adopted, similar to University entrance exams. Thirdly, Ioannides said external examiners and markers should be used, keeping Education Ministry employees out of the process. And finally, the Minister said teachers should be examined on three core aspects: teaching ability, academic knowledge and current educational legislature.

    "Teachers must be able to prove that they know and understand their subject material more than others, that they have the ability to teach that material and that they are aware of the legal foundations of their profession," he said - in other words what were teachers' rights and obligations, how a school unit functioned, when were teachers eligible for promotion and what rights students had.

    But Teachers' Union President Soteris Charalambous said all educational organisations were opposed to the Minister's suggestion and that the matter was not even open to discussion. He characterised the process of having to sit further examinations as demeaning for teachers and belittling their degrees. Besides, added Charalambous, teachers underwent a pre-employment re-educational programme that determined their teaching level before they were appointed to schools.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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