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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-11-16

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

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


Saturday, November 16, 2002

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Turkish troops parade as Greek Cypriot students protest
  • [02] Matsakis, Perdikis, Koutsou: plan is a disaster
  • [03] Billboard companies step up the pressure with libel suits against Politis
  • [04] Hospital cancer patients to start radiotherapy at oncology centre on Monday
  • [05] Clerides confident that lost deadline won't stop talks
  • [06] Prepare for a truly stunning display
  • [07] More Turkish Cypriots back EU accession than Greeks
  • [08] Annan plan: a recipe for economic disaster?

  • [01] Turkish troops parade as Greek Cypriot students protest

    By Alex Mita

    CELEBRATIONS in the North to mark the 19th anniversary of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot 'state' were yesterday met with student demonstrations in the free areas, while Turkish F5 fighter jets violated Cyprus air space to take part in the parade.

    Hundreds of pupils and students gathered at Eleftheria Square in Nicosia to condemn the declaration of the illegal regime and later marched to the Ledra Palace checkpoint chanting slogans against the regime, amid draconian security measures.

    The students said they wanted to send a clear message to the north that they would never recognise the fait accompli of the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus.

    The protestors said they were determined to fight for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, based on the high level agreements and the UN resolutions on Cyprus and called on the international community to "exert their pressure on Turkey and authorities in the north to open the road for the reunification of Cyprus and its people."

    Referring to the plan submitted on Monday by the UN Secretary-General for a Cyprus settlement, the students called on the international community and the governments of Britain and the US to secure the implementation of UN resolutions on Cyprus, which provide for a sovereign, independent, federal, territorially integral and demilitarised state.

    The Turkish Cypriot Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) was declared ''legally invalid'' by UN Security Council resolution 541 of November 1983, which called on all states not to recognise the self-styled regime and not to facilitate it in any way.

    Only Turkey has recognised the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.'

    Meanwhile seven Turkish F5 fighter jets aircraft violated Cyprus airspace during the parade of Turkish troops before the Turkish Chief of Staff Hilmi Ozkok.

    Defence Ministry Spokesman Andreas Yiorkas said the jets had came over Kyrenia, made their way through the occupied part of Nicosia, continued towards occupied Kythrea and flown over Pentadaktylos before leaving.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Matsakis, Perdikis, Koutsou: plan is a disaster

    By Alex Mita

    WITH the deadline for an answer to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's plan for a solution to the Cyprus problem getting nearer, dissident voices are beginning to emerge, claiming the proposal is a recipe for disaster.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis yesterday slammed the plan, branding it as destructive and unacceptably biased towards Turkish positions.

    "It is a completely destructive plan, non-functional and unacceptably biased towards the Turkish positions," he said.

    "It is unfair and uncompromising in every respect regarding human rights. This sort of plan should not be considered as a basis for negotiations."

    Matsakis said now was not the time to be talking about finding a solution and that the government should centre its efforts around accession to the EU and the upcoming presidential elections.

    "This is not the time to be discussing a solution to the Cyprus problem," he said.

    "We are currently waiting for the decision in Copenhagen, we are preparing for accession to the EU and we are three months away from presidential elections.

    "We should wait until after accession and the presidential elections and then discuss prospects for a solution to the Cyprus problem."

    Matsakis said not one single provision in the plan fulfilled basic human rights principles.

    "It does not provide for the return of all refugees to their homes and the implementation of the acquis communautaire," Matsakis said. "It is totally ridiculous that we have to scrap European Court rulings like that of Titina Loizidou for human rights violations.

    "This plan is far worse than having two separate countries. We would be better off if we stayed in our part and they stayed in theirs," Matsakis said.

    The Green Party yesterday accused the government of putting a positive gloss on the Annan plan.

    In a written statement, the Greens described the government's position as "irresponsible, unwise and provocative," saying the government was trying to convince the Cypriot people the plan was positive.

    The Greens accused the government of carrying out mass propaganda.

    New Horizons president Nicos Koutsou warned he would resign if his party agreed to the plan.

    "The substance of the plan is negative, therefore the answer should be a clear no," he said.

    "Accepting the plan as a basis for negotiation is really accepting the plan."

    Meanwhile Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos said prelates would meet on Monday at the offices of the Kyrenia Bishop to discuss the Church's position on the plan and urged the government not to rush into any decisions.

    "The Church has a voice and we will state our view clearly," he said.

    "We are entering a path of no return and the government should not rush into giving an answer to the plan before listening to the Cypriot people."

    The Paphos Bishop said the government should study every detail of the plan, because from the moment it was accepted as a basis for negotiation, they would not achieve anything for the Greek Cypriot side.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] Billboard companies step up the pressure with libel suits against Politis

    By a Staff Reporter

    FOUR outdoor advertising companies have filed defamation and libel suits against Politis newspaper and are seeking a court injunction to stop the newspaper from publishing reports about them.

    The suits come amid growing concern that the House of Representatives is bowing to pressure from the companies to amend a government bill that would remove most billboards from the side of the island's streets and highways.

    The bill was submitted by the Communications Ministry around a year ago, but it was only recently that the House began examination of its contents in earnest.

    Since then, the billboard companies have waged a sustained campaign against the press, accusing them of trying to drive them out of business in order to claim their stake in the advertising pie.

    The companies have embarked on an organised campaign, sending e-mails, circulating statements through the press and information office, and even running ads on their own billboards ridiculing Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou - the sponsor of the bill.

    The libel suits against Politis were filed on Thursday, demanding up to 25, 000 in damages for 21 reports published in the daily since October 4 this year.

    On Thursday, deputies again postponed discussion of the bill for the second time in two weeks.

    The first postponement was requested by United Democrats Androulla Vasiliou two weeks ago, and accepted by the other parties.

    During last week, deputies met behind closed doors to discuss the matter, but again failed on Thursday to vote on it when DISY asked for a further one-week postponement.

    Again there was no opposition to the postponement.

    According to reports in yesterday's Phileleftheros, the new amendments proposed by deputies provide that a certain stretch of the Dhekelia to Ayia Napa motorway, would no longer be designated a motorway so that billboards would be allowed to be erected closer to the road and to one another.

    The bill provides that billboards should be placed 40 metres from the motorway and have a distance of three kilometres from each other.

    The daily said that three months ago the Cabinet had approved funds to plant trees and beautify the same stretch of road.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [04] Hospital cancer patients to start radiotherapy at oncology centre on Monday

    By George Psyllides

    TEN cancer patients needing radiotherapy will be starting treatment on Monday, the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) oncology centre said yesterday.

    The plight of the patients has recently been highlighted following the breakdown of the outdated radiotherapy equipment at the Nicosia general hospital, which left around 40 patients in limbo.

    The only alternative for these patients was the BoC centre, though a way had to be found in order to fit in the hospital's patients in the centre's schedule.

    Government doctors, through their union PASYKI, have expressed their readiness to transfer to the centre in order to treat their patients.

    The doctors, however, have also said that they would not follow instructions from the centre's administration.

    The two sides met at the Health Minister's office last Friday and a deal had been struck for the government doctors to start work at the centre this past Monday, November 8.

    But the government doctors failed to do so, angry at comments by BoC chairman Solon Triantafyllides.

    Things came to a head on Thursday during a House Health Committee session, prompting its chairman Antonis Karas to threaten to seek a ruling from the Attorney-general on whether refusing to provide health care was a criminal offence.

    The dispute lies in the fact that government doctors insist in operating one of the oncology centre's two linear accelerators on their own.

    The matter was mooted anew during the committee session, with the doctors reaffirming their proposal to operate one of the machines as a completely separate unit.

    But the centre had serious reservations about the proposal, suggesting instead the creation of mixed shifts in order for government doctors to get acquainted with the state-of-the-art equipment.

    The Oncology Centre is widely seen as a state-of-the-art facility offering first-class treatment.

    But the deputies' outrage at the squabbling, which was delaying urgent treatment, apparently brought the two sides together and, according to the Oncology Centre director Alecos Stamati, seven specialists from the Nicosia general hospital will start work there on Monday.

    "The director of the radiotherapy department said they were most welcome and he looks forward to an even closer collaboration," Stamati told the Cyprus Mail.

    He said the patients would begin their treatment on the linear accelerators on Monday following preparatory examinations throughout this past week.

    Stamati said the centre could treat 70 patients a day.

    On Thursday, the head of the centre's radiotherapy department, Demetris Andreopoulos, said that in order to clear the centre's waiting list it would be necessary to increase the equipment's operation times.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [05] Clerides confident that lost deadline won't stop talks

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides said yesterday that if, for any reason, either side is not ready to sign an agreement by December 12, the deadline set by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan for an initial agreement, the procedure for a settlement to the Cyprus problem would not halt.

    Speaking before his departure to Athens for discussions with the Greek leadership on the UN proposal for a Cyprus settlement, Clerides said: "I do not think there is an issue that if any side does not wish to go ahead and sign the procedure will come to an end".

    Clerides said he will hold talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and other Greek leaders today "to exchange views with the Greek government on the strategy which we will have to follow regarding the UN proposal". He confirmed that the two leaders had prepared an agenda on the fundamental issues, which they wished to discuss during the talks in Athens. Clerides said he would convey the results of the Athens talks to the National Council at its meeting on Monday. Asked if the National Council was likely to give him the go-ahead to negotiate the Annan plan, Clerides said he did not wish to pre-empt the decision.

    The president told reporters that Monday's meeting would be the first of many but that the first task would be to have a reply ready to Annan's seven-day deadline on the UN proposal being a basis for continued negotiations. Clerides said the UN had already clarified certain issues but more clarifications were still needed.

    Asked whether he was under pressure from the Greek government to sign an agreement by December 12 when the European Council will convene in Copenhagen to decide on EU enlargement, he replied: "The Greek government has not exerted any pressure so far, and I don't believe it will."

    Clerides arrived in Athens yesterday accompanied by Attorney-general Alecos Markides, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides and government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou.

    Asked on arrival whether he had any concerns about Denktash getting a three- day extension to Monday's deadline, he said he had not been informed of such an extension but regarded one as not unnatural given the state of the Turkish Cypriot leader's health.

    Britain's special envoy for Cyprus Lord David Hannay was quoted by CyBC yesterday as saying that the EU had stated its position quite clearly regarding the December 12 deadline and therefore a change in the deadline was unlikely. "The date is arranged with EU enlargement in mind," he said. "I don't think there is any possibility of rearranging that date."

    He acknowledged that the EU timetable created some pressures but maintained that a solution was not a pre-condition to accession under the Helsinki rules, insisting that the proposal was not 'take-it-or-leave-it'.

    Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis urged Turkey to support the search for a Cyprus peace deal and commit to democratic reforms in order to secure a long-sought invitation to begin talks on EU accession. Reuters reported him speaking at a meeting of social democratic leaders in Warsaw yesterday where he met Deniz Baykal, leader of Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party.

    .

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [06] Prepare for a truly stunning display

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    PACK a warm blanket, steaming thermos and open mind for the stunning storm of shooting stars known as the Leonid meteor shower that will strike our skies early on the morning of November 19.

    According to the Cyprus Astronomical Society (CAS), the Leonid meteor shower occurs around the same time every year as the earth encounters clouds of particles left behind from comet Tempel-Tuttle.

    These tiny pieces of matter, equivalent to grains of sand, heat up and illuminate from the friction created as they plunge into our atmosphere at 70 kilometres per second. They are called the Leonids because they appear to radiate out of the constellation Leo.

    The brief streaks of light that remain after the meteor has vanished from the sky is basically a trail of glowing dust left from the meteor called the train. The Leonids are known for their fast bright meteors and number of trains. The Tempel-Tuttle comet orbits the sun every 33 years, leaving debris on a slightly different path each time round. The debris the earth encounters is normally spread out, allowing for 10 or so 'shooting stars' per hour.

    The comet last passed the sun in 1998, leaving a much higher concentration of material in the debris fields than normal years.

    CAS warns that this year might be the last chance to see a Leonid meteor shower for almost a century as scientists predict a poor showing of the comet's next two orbits. Of course, those that will have the unimpaired ability to crank their neck, open their eyes and focus in 2098 are in for a special treat as the earth crosses hairs with the comet's debris stream once again, promising a spectacular show.

    But rather than take the chance, people are given the more immediate option of witnessing two meteor showers, both expected early in the morning on November 19. Unfortunately, only the one will be visible in Cyprus. This is the one where the earth passes close to the path created by the comet in 1766!

    Scientists forecast the frequency of shooting stars to be around 1,000 per hour but the CAS believes this number to be pessimistic and expects a meteor storm with over 3,500 per hour.

    The exact time of the storm is estimated at 6am on November 19 but star spotters are advised to begin observations no earlier than 5am. The brightness of the moon's light, a day away from full form, will reduce visibility. The CAS recommends all early risers to leave the city lights for somewhere dark and cloudless where they can look towards the East- Southeast sky.

    The Cyprus Mail advises all to dress well and keep the drinks light, thereby guaranteeing the authenticity of the display.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [07] More Turkish Cypriots back EU accession than Greeks

    By George Psyllides

    THE overwhelming majority of Turkish Cypriots favour accession into the European Union, while 58 per cent of Greek Cypriots would vote for entry if there were a referendum, according to the results of two separate surveys released yesterday.

    The first, carried out by the Turkish Cypriot survey institute on behalf of the EU, found that 88.4 per cent of the sample agreed that EU accession would be "a good thing", with only 3.5 per cent disagreeing.

    Around eight per cent said accession was neither good nor bad.

    Sixty-nine per cent said they would vote if a referendum was held tomorrow with 88 per cent saying they would vote for EU accession.

    Turkish Cypriots, in contrast to the residents of other candidate countries, think that those who would benefit the least from accession would be their politicians, who found themselves on the bottom of the list of people who would benefit.

    Ninety per cent of the sample said it was young people and those who spoke foreign languages who would benefit the most, while 86 per cent believe that most benefits would be reaped by the unemployed.

    According to the survey, despite the lack of information concerning the EU, 19 per cent of Turkish Cypriots said they knew a lot about the Union, while only eight per cent saying they were completely ignorant.

    Seven out of 10 Turkish Cypriots knew that the EU had 15 member states, a percentage similar to that of other candidate countries.

    The high percentage of Turkish Cypriots supporting EU accession stemmed from their conviction that they were European, with 77 per cent saying they felt European.

    The survey was carried out between September 1 and 20.

    In a separate poll in the free areas, carried out between September 2 and October 16, 58 per cent said they would vote for EU accession, 25 per cent were against, and three per cent said they would abstain.

    Fourteen per cent were undecided.

    The results showed a seven per cent decrease of those in favour of EU accession compared to a similar survey carried out in the spring of this year.

    The October survey found that 47 per cent of the sample thought EU accession was "a good thing" with 12 per cent disagreeing.

    Thirty-four per cent said it was neither good nor bad.

    In this case the results showed a six per cent drop compared to the spring poll.

    Sixty-three per cent think Cyprus would benefit from accession with 23 per cent disagreeing, while 55 per cent said they trusted the EU and 32 per cent said they did not.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [08] Annan plan: a recipe for economic disaster?

    By Andreas Theophanous

    THE economic dimension of a solution to the Cyprus problem will without doubt be of vital importance for the viability of the state. Thus economic factors, in the broadest meaning of the term, should be seriously taken into account in the examination of any solution model.

    The expected economic aid package from the EU is acknowledged but it is more important that there should be internal dynamics for reconstruction and further development. And likewise, the return of territory is significant, but the proposed Annan plan should be assessed comprehensively; in other words, we should not lose sight of the forest for the tree. Within this framework it should be noted that ignoring fundamental rules for the smooth functioning of the economy will have serious consequences, and at first sight it seems that the Annan plan does not take economic factors into serious consideration.

    The constitutional framework of a state decisively affects the economic structure and consequently economic performance. Economic structure includes, among other things, the decision-making mechanisms and processes, the relations between the private and public sectors, the legal framework that regulates economic activity, the taxation system, public expenditure, the relations between employers and trade unions, the tripartite co- operation on labour matters (employers - trade unions - the state) and so on.

    It is equally important to make sure that there are no distortions in the economy. Thus, among other things, government expenditure as a percentage of GDP is a significant indicator that inevitably and undoubtedly affects economic structure and performance. For 2002, the above-mentioned indicator in the government-controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus is approaching 40 per cent. In case the Annan plan and the three-state structures that he proposes are implemented, government spending will rise sharply.

    If we fail, for any reason, to take into account basic rules for the smooth functioning of an economy, there will be unpleasant surprises. For example, if we allow the public expenditure/GDP indicator to approach, let alone exceed, 50 per cent it will be an ill-omened beginning for the new state with gloomy prospects.

    Such a development would dynamite the Cyprus economy with unforeseen consequences. The ill feeling and discontent that will result from the implementation of an unacceptable political system burdened with serious economic problems will constitute a highly explosive mixture.

    Justifiably, one wonders whether it is wise to ignore the tremendous costs of running three state structures as well as the consequent problems, including cases of deadlock that would most likely arise owing to inflexible decision-making mechanisms. We should also be concerned about the prospects of success in bringing about convergence in the standard of living of the two communities without the unimpeded functioning of market forces. With fundamental distortions in the functioning of the free market system (i.e. no implementation of the three basic freedoms) the whole attempt for convergence will parallel the story of Sisyphus' punishment.

    Finally, it must also be noted that Cyprus's course of acceding to the Eurozone will also be affected adversely. If the country's economic performance is allowed to be derailed because of the problems stated above (and they are not the only ones) then the value of the Cyprus pound will fall and there will be great delay in joining the Eurozone.

    A flexible economic structure will have a positive affect on the economy, whereas an inflexible, distorted structure, as outlined in the plan, will have a negative effect on the economy. Examples of inflexibility and distortion in economic systems have been the USSR and Czechoslovakia; both of these systems collapsed from within.

    Andreas Theophanous is a Professor of Political Economy and Director General of the Research and Development Center - Intercollege.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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