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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-11-26

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

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


Tuesday, November 26, 2002

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Church decides not to replace ailing Archbishop
  • [02] Koutsou hails protest success
  • [03] Poll shows growing opposition to peace plan
  • [04] British team arrive for new antenna health study
  • [05] Last Palestinian militant leaves Cyprus
  • [06] Suspects deny raping Finnish tourist in Ayia Napa last year
  • [07] Airport reprieve as refuelling strike postponed
  • [08] Village residents in protest over school bus
  • [09] Two dead in weekend crashes

  • [01] Church decides not to replace ailing Archbishop

    By Elias Hazou

    CITING "humanitarian reasons," the Holy Synod yesterday decided not to hold elections to replace ailing Archbishop Chrysostomos as primate of the Church of Cyprus.

    At a marathon session of the Church's ruling body, the ecclesiastical leaders decided by majority that Chrysostomos should remain in place, despite his inability to carry out his duties.

    The Archbishop is rumoured to be suffering from Alzheimer's, and is recovering from a fall he took a few months ago, leading to his extended hospitalisation in Greece. Chrysostomos' stay in Athens had been shrouded in controversy, with allegations that some church quarters wanted to keep the Archbishop abroad as they preyed on his succession.

    A medical report compiled -- in English -- by three foreign doctors on Chrysostomos' state of health had been handed over to Church leaders late last week, but the bishops wanted to wait until yesterday to study the Greek translation.

    With the media widely reporting that the Church is split into two camps -- those pushing for a succession, and their opponents -- most prominent clerics were yesterday cagey on the Synod's decision, simply saying it was reached on humanitarian grounds.

    Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos, seen as a major powerbroker, told reporters that elections for a new Archbishop would be postponed indefinitely, "until better days come", a likely allusion to the ongoing developments in the Cyprus problem. Asked to comment on whether this meant the Church would remain leaderless and what this entailed, Chrysostomos laconically said "I believe that a Church must at all times have a leader."

    An alternative proposal was put forward yesterday by Kikkos Bishop Nikiforos; in a written announcement, Nikiforos described the decision not to replace the Archbishop as wise, given the "critical times our country is going through". He went on to recommend that the Holy Synod designate a commonly acceptable candidate who would act as Church leader for a transitional period. Nikiforos suggested the bishops of Paphos or of Kiti were "suitable" candidates.

    Prior to discussing the Archbishop's status, the Holy Synod was briefed for two hours by Attorney-general Alecos Markides on the UN settlement plan submitted earlier this month. Church leaders have rejected the UN plan, describing it as unacceptable. The Synod also sought clarifications from Markides on the thorny issue of the sanctioning of Church property transactions in the absence of the Archbishop.

    The ageing Chrysostomos has been primate since 1977, succeeding the late Archbishop and President of the Republic Makarios.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Koutsou hails protest success

    By George Psyllides

    NEW HORIZONS party chief Nicos Koutsou yesterday hailed Sunday's protest against the United Nations plan as a great success, saying those who attended were only a fraction of the thousands opposing the plan.

    Around 3,000 people assembled in the Eleftheria stadium in Nicosia on Sunday to voice their opposition to the UN plan.

    It was the first organised protest against the plan and it was organised by the Citizens' Movement with the participation of former Greek defence minister Gerasimos Arsenis, as well as numerous other politicians from Greece and Cyprus.

    Arsenis said there was no time for negotiations on the plan, stressing the Cyprus needed a clean decision in Copenhagen, free of footnotes concerning the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    The leader of Greek party DIKKI, Demetris Tsovolas, described the plan as "the fabrication of a sick imagination, which is worse than the current illegal situation on the island".

    Kyrenia Mayor Constantinos Rologas said the plan was unacceptable, violating all the principles of UN decisions, European courts and basic human rights.

    Kyrenia Bishop Pavlos said the plan vindicated the Turkish invaders, adding the only place for sell-outs was at bargain basement shops.

    "We are not ready to sell out Cyprus; Cyprus is not the property of (Greek Prime Minister Costas) Simitis or (President Glafcos) Clerides or any politician," Bishop Pavlos said.

    Koutsou said yesterday the protest had been a success despite the short notice.

    He said the 3,000 who attended were just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of citizens who, according to surveys, disagree with the plan.

    "I believe it was the beginning of popular mobilisation and intervention and this time citizens won't stay indifferent to procedures, which will determine the future of our children for the next 100 years," Koutsou said.

    Koutsou urged people to continue to express their views peacefully and within the democratic framework.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] Poll shows growing opposition to peace plan

    SIXTY-FOUR per cent of Cypriots would vote against the United Nations peace plan if a referendum were held next Sunday, a survey has found.

    The survey, carried out on behalf of Politis last Thursday and Friday and published on Sunday, found that only 27 per cent would vote in favour of the plan while nine per cent said they did not know what to vote or declined to reply.

    The daily commented that the percentage of people opposing the plan was gathering strength, since a similar poll just a week earlier had found that 52 per cent would vote against and 28 per cent in favour of the plan.

    According to Politis, the negative attitude stems from feelings of insecurity.

    Out of the 55 per cent who said they felt insecure, 79 per cent were against the plan and 17 per cent in favour.

    Of those who felt secure with the plan - 42 per cent - 43 per cent were in favour and 45 against.

    Seventy-five per cent of the sample said they were afraid that violent clashes would break out upon implementation of the plan, while those who expressed fears about the proposed solution listed five main concerns.

    The continued presence of Turkish settlers topped the list with 29 per cent, while remaining Turkish forces posed a danger for 20 per cent of the interviewees.

    Living with the Turks evoked fears for 19 per cent and freedom of movement for Turks worried 18 per cent.

    Finally, 14 per cent said the Turks would effectively control the island if a solution was based on this plan.

    The survey found that 68 per cent of the people thought they had not been adequately informed about the plan with 30 per cent said they were satisfied with the information they had.

    Fourty-seven per cent said they would like more information concerning the security aspects of the plan; 28 per cent on territory, and 18 per cent on the constitutional provisions.

    Another source of insecurity is put down to the belief that the standard of living would drop should the plan go through, Politis said.

    Fifty-two per cent think it will drop while 31 per cent believe it will go up.

    Out of the sample of 376 people, 30 per cent were refugees, the daily said.

    Of those, 81 per cent said they would not return under Turkish Cypriot administration while 15 per cent said they would.

    Despite rejecting the UN plan, Cypriots in general want a settlement of the Cyprus problem, with 75 per cent saying they would accept the Turkish Cypriots who wanted to return to their homes in the south as equals.

    Forty-seven per cent opted for living separately from Turkish Cypriots with a weak central state and 48 per cent preferred a strong central state.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [04] British team arrive for new antenna health study

    By Jennie Matthew

    TOP BRITISH scientists arrive in Cyprus today to begin a full-scale investigation into the health effects of the British antennae at Akrotiri.

    But the study is unlikely to derail work on the completion of the Pluto Project, the modernisation of British spy installations - inciting anger among critics who say the SBA are paying no more than lip-service to concerns about the safety of electromagnetic radiation.

    First promised 15 months ago in response to the anti-antenna riots in July 2001, the 250,000 project will only be finished after the controversial new three-mast antenna is up and running.

    Backed by the Green Party and DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis, Akrotiri residents vigorously oppose plans for the new colossus (to measure 96- metres tall by 196-metres wide), which they say will dramatically increase cancer and health-related problems.

    The team from Bristol University Oncology Centre will launch a major investigation into their claims in an attempt to draw a line under the ongoing controversy.

    Questionnaires, translated into Greek, will be handed out by March to every adult living in Akrotiri.

    Their answers will be then be correlated with objective data such as medical and burial records to establish whether the village is indeed a bad- health hotspot.

    Scientists will then look for abnormalities by comparing the evidence with that taken from a "control" village, 20km away.

    Experts said it took considerable time to find a similar-sized village not burdened by other environmental hazards, which could have distorted the comparison.

    It will take the team until the end of 2003 to assess all the necessary data, take into account seasonal variation and measure radiation emissions.

    They will submit a written report in early 2004.

    But SBA spokesman Rob Need says the new antenna is on track for a completion date by the end of 2003 regardless.

    The British have already spent 75,000 on studies to determine the environmental impact of the mast, which have proved inconclusive. Commissioned by London and Nicosia, they are footing half the bill for the latest study.

    "The money's not the point. This mast will be built anyway," Need has said.

    But Professor Allan Preece of the University of Bristol is sceptical about concerns, given the "tiny" level of radiation to which the village is exposed.

    "We're dealing with a volt a metre, which is tiny. We have that sort of level in hospitals because of antennae on the roof," he said.

    "Our wisdom and scientific thought would suggest that they oughtn't to be concerned. But we need to keep an open mind [and be] as objective as possible; collect perceptions and opinions and correlate them with objective evidence," he added.

    Dr Andreas Georgiou, Public Health Specialist at the Ministry of Health, will assist in the management and review of the project, but no representative of the British government will be involved at any level.

    A local research assistant will be recruited by Easter to help oversee the work when the Bristol team are in England.

    Studies into the effect of electromagnetic fields on human health have proved inconclusive and contradictory all over the world.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [05] Last Palestinian militant leaves Cyprus

    THE LAST of the 13 Palestinian militants who came to Cyprus in a deal to end the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in May left the island yesterday for an unknown destination.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said he was not authorised to reveal the country that had granted asylum to Abdullah Daoud, the Palestinian Authority's former intelligence chief in Bethlehem. The other 12 left Cyprus for various countries of the European Union shortly after a couple of weeks on the island

    Cassoulides said Daoud would not be joining them, heading instead for a distant, non-European country, where he would meet relatives. Forty-year- old Daoud has two children.

    "With Daoud's departure, Cyprus' role and mission in regard to this case has been completed," Cassoulides added.

    Cyprus offered to take the Palestinians after an EU deal to take them to Italy broke down.

    The Palestinians arrived in Cyprus on May 10, after 39 days under Israeli siege in the Church of the Nativity. The other 12 Palestinians left Cyprus on May 22 for six European countries that had agreed to take them in. Daoud stayed in Nicosia until a host country was found for him.

    He left the island yesterday accompanied by a representative of the EU's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [06] Suspects deny raping Finnish tourist in Ayia Napa last year

    FOUR men from Liopetri accused of kidnapping and raping a 19-year-old tourist from Finland in May last year, yesterday pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

    The four men, Panayiotis Ktoris, 23, Costas Kyprianou, 18, Haris Charalambous, 24 and Kyriacos Zanou, 19, appeared before the Larnaca district court where they admitted to having sex with the girl at a remote location outside Ayia Napa, but denied raping and kidnapping her.

    The prosecution claimed that the suspects approached the Finnish woman outside a nightclub in Ayia Napa and asked her to follow them but she refused.

    The suspects allegedly waited for her until she came out of the nightclub with her boyfriend and they asked again to have sex with them.

    When she refused they threw her into a car, pushed her boyfriend out of the way and drove off.

    The woman's boyfriend called the police who finally found the tourist wandering outside the same nightclub. When she saw the police she started crying and pointed at the suspects accusing them of raping her.

    The men fled the scene but where later arrested. When interrogated the men claimed the tourist had had sex with them of her own free will.

    Samples of clothing and blood was taken for DNA testing, but the suspects insisted they had not kidnapped her, saying that after they had sex they even bought her an energy drink at a sandwich place.

    The suspects' trial has been set for November 27.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [07] Airport reprieve as refuelling strike postponed

    By Alex Mita

    UNIONS representing staff working for petroleum companies at the island's airports yesterday agreed to postpone a strike due for today, which would have paralysed both Larnaca and Paphos airports.

    The dispute is over the renewal of a collective agreement.

    Last week, unions gave the Labour Ministry 10 days to approve their demands over pension and redundancy pay rises.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, BP Chairman George Petrou said the employees had agreed to postpone the strike in order to allow talks between unions, petrol companies and the government to continue today.

    "We had long lengthy discussions today at the mediator's office and we will continue the talks tomorrow," he said.

    "The collective agreement principle has already been agreed. There are two proposals that we would like to discuss further. The unions took that as a rejection of the proposal and this is why they declared the strike."

    Petrou said the dispute over the collective agreement was not unsolvable and that an agreement was expected to be reached at today's meeting.

    "One of the issues under discussion is an annual pension increase," he said.

    "In the agreement, pension increases were always left to the companies' discretion and although at least one company gave the rises in full, the employees now want the increases to be mandatory.

    Petrou said the employees were also demanding an increase in redundancy payments, despite the fact that petrol companies in Cyprus offered "the highest redundancy package in the world".

    "We give people between 1.7 and 1.9 months per year of service, depending on the circumstances," he said.

    "Unions now want to increase this to 2.1 months, and we just can't accept this, this is not a wage increase that you give every year. Nobody in the world offers such a high redundancy pay."

    A Civil Aviation spokesman at Larnaca airport, Tassos Demetriades, confirmed last night that the strike had been called off.

    "I don't know what will be discussed in their next meeting but they just can't go on strike without giving us time to notify airlines that use the airport," he said.

    "We asked them to keep us informed and to give us ample time to prepare in case of a strike. According to international law, I should have 24 hours to notify the airlines."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [08] Village residents in protest over school bus

    RESIDENTS of Ayios Amvrosios village in the Limassol district yesterday caused traffic chaos when they blocked main Kantou to Platres road, protesting about a decision to cut down on buses carrying pupils to schools in Episkopi.

    The blockade started at 6am and affected hundreds of drivers who were trying to get to work.

    Police scrambled to the scene, though the protest continued until 8am and only ended after a transport department director promised to send an officer to the area to resolve the matter.

    The problem emerged after bus owners decided to use only one bus, instead of two, for the transport of the village's 16 pupils.

    The owners said they were forced to do this after the government decided to cut their subsidies.

    The move enraged residents who claimed it was dangerous since gymnasium pupils had to go to school one hour earlier so that lyceum pupils could be on time for their lessons.

    Parents said the same happened on their return, with gymnasium pupils loitering the streets for two hours waiting for lyceum pupils to finish class.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [09] Two dead in weekend crashes

    TWO people were killed and a further three were seriously injured in a series of road accidents over the weekend.

    Twenty-seven-year-old Yiannis Yiakoumos from Limassol died on Sunday night after sustaining injuries in an accident that took place in the early hours of the same day.

    At around 4.35am at the junction of Gladstone and Saktouri Streets, the driver of the vehicle in which Yiakoumos was a passenger lost control of his vehicle, which swerved off course and collided into a raised pavement, before crashing into a shop window and finally flipping back over onto the road.

    All three men in the car were rushed to Limassol hospital. Yiakoumos died on Sunday night, while the driver of the car Andreas Kyriacou, 27, was still in critical condition and the second passenger Nicos Tandis, also 27, suffered fractures to his left arm and shoulder blade. Police said none of the men had been wearing seatbelts.

    Meanwhile, a second accident on Sunday night left a 16-year-old youth dead and a 14-year-old seriously injured.

    Christos Avraam Stavrou and Marios Martis, both from Liopetri in the Famagusta district, were driving a motorbike on the Liopetri-Frenaros road when they collided into an oncoming car driven by a 25-year-old.

    Both youths were rushed to Larnaca General Hospital, where Stavrou was pronounced dead and Martis was kept in suffering internal bleeding.

    Police said neither boy had been wearing a helmet. It is not clear which of the two was driving the motorbike.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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