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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, January 5, 2003

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  • [01] Another Annan plan?
  • [02] UK boost for summer tourism
  • [03] Sales? Not at all. These are just 'special offers'

  • [01] Another Annan plan?

    By Jean Christou

    A HIGH-RANKING official in the Turkish Foreign Ministry has said that the second Cyprus plan presented by Kofi Annan made significant improvements to the first plan but that a third plan could be on the way, Turkish Daily News (TDN) reported yesterday.

    According to the newspaper the Turkish side wants corrections to the “indentations made into the Turkish Cypriot region on the map” and that part of the plan aiming to create Greek Cypriot settlements in the Karpass peninsula would be scrapped.

    Another demand by the Turkish side includes completion of the property exchanges prior to a solution and the guarantee that the Turkish side would not be confronted with “Loizidou-type” court cases in the future. “These views are harboured by a group of Foreign Ministry officials,” TDN said. “The militants in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) administration favor rejection of the plan as a whole.”

    It added that if these improvements could be made, it would affect Ankara's stance and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would come under increased pressure to reach a solution.

    “In this framework, there are growing rumours in both United Nations circles and in Washington that a third Cyprus plan may be in the offing,” TDN said. “It is being argued that the plan would 'stem' from the Bush Administration, and that, starting with Powell, US officials would throw their weight behind the plan.”

    The paper added, however, that it is in that kind of expectation that Denktash has pinned his hopes on war breaking out soon in Iraq so the Cyprus issue is overshadowed when the Bush administration has its attention diverted.

    In a separate article the paper said that Denktash, who is under pressure to resign after failing to take the initiative to sign the Annan plan at the EU summit in Copenhagen in mid December, “is starting to see the bitter fact that the power of the people may turn against him”.

    The paper said that both Denktash's inner circle and pro-nationalist hardliners in Ankara were put off balance by completely misreading the situation in the north and the mood of the people. Around 30,000 Turkish Cypriots took to the streets to demonstrate against Denktash after his side failed to act in Copenhagen.

    “They (the hardliners) felt that they could replace the Turkish Cypriot people with mainland Turks and simply continue their dominance of the KKTC, forgetting that the island belongs to the Turkish Cypriots and only the Turkish Cypriots and that mainland Turks are not their landlords,” TDN said. “So it is no use saying 'if the Turkish Cypriots leave the island complaining of a viable solution on Cyprus we can replace them with more mainland Turks and just carry on as we have done in the past'. It is also no use saying 'we can maintain the status quo of shutting the doors to any kind of solution, and that on its own is a solution for the Turks'. We feel the sooner President Denktash and his inner circle sees this and acts accordingly the better.”

    The paper said Denktash was stalling by his extended discussions with the political parties in the north, which entered their third day yesterday. “But he has to see that the time has passed when he alone calls the cards on Cyprus. Now the public expects him to fulfill his pledges made during his presidential election campaign to bring about a solution on the island.”

    The meetings in the north, which aimed to assess the Cyprus issue and UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's plan, began on Thursday with Turkish Cypriot opposition leaders calling on Denktash to resign.

    Before Friday afternoon's meeting Denktash said he would do his utmost in the spirit of goodwill to solve the Cyprus problem. Clerides and Denktash had been due to resume talks on Tuesday in order to try and meet the February 28 deadline for a settlement, but UN special envoy Alvaro do Soto will not now return to the island until January 12 after visiting Athens and Ankara. Denktash has said that the talks might start on January 13 or 14.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [02] UK boost for summer tourism

    By Jean Christou

    SUMMER holiday bookings to the island are 21 per cent up on last year, one leading UK-based Cyprus specialist reported yesterday, adding that the overall British market is up 35 per cent.

    Sunvil Holidays director Noel Josephides said the figures for his company at the end of December showed a 21 per cent increase for Cyprus this summer and a 38 per cent increase for Greece.

    “It's very difficult to see a trend yet, but we are still around ten per cent below 2000 and 2001 which were good years,” he said. “I understand that's the same for big companies as well.”

    Commenting on summer prices, an issue which has dogged Cyprus tourism for several years, Josephides said that they were not particularly low.

    “There are certain worrying things.” he said. “One is the strengthening of the euro that is going to affect Cyprus and certainly the spending money in Cyprus if this continues. Last year Cyprus had a lot of publicity for overpricing and this is going to be accentuated. We are worried about that.” The Cyprus pound is pegged to the euro.

    Josephides said a possible US-led war on Iraq in February might also be a contributing factor to summer bookings, but he was loath to overemphasise its possible impact on tourism.

    “The third issue is the economic situation in the UK,” he said. “The papers are full of doom and gloom, which affects the mass market more and delays people's holiday choice.”

    He said a clearer picture of booking trends would emerge by the middle of January. “It could be a lot worse. We have made a good start,” he said.

    The government and its partners in the tourism sector are expected to discuss the issues that will affect the market this year, including a possible Iraq war, and draw up a list of measures to counteract any negative reactions in the travel industry.

    According to an article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, British travel companies have embarked on a fierce battle to win early bookings by slashing millions of pounds off holiday prices. They are also offering free insurance, free child places, low deposits and even interest-free loans to encourage customers to book early.

    Tour operators said prices are at least 50 per cent lower than they were this time last year. Thomson says it has cut prices for all its summer packages and is offering a week's half-board in Majorca for £295 compared with the pre-Christmas price of £635. Lunn Poly says its shops have been bombarded by interested customers and that it expects booking to begin in earnest next week, the Telegraph said.

    Thomas Cook is offering thousands of free child-places and holidays from £99 with its Sunset brand, while First Choice has slashed £5 million off summer 2003 prices offering holidays from £129, free child places, and two weeks for the price of one.

    The UK is the island's biggest source of tourism, accounting for more than half of all arrivals. But numbers have been flagging in recent years, mainly because of cheaper alternatives and wider choices from UK regional airports.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [03] Sales? Not at all. These are just 'special offers'

    By Alexia Saoulli

    IT IS ILLEGAL to sell clothes, shoes, furnishings and electrical goods at discounted prices outside sales periods, the Small Shopkeeper's Union (POVEK) General Secretary said yesterday. But despite this, many shops have started selling their wares at half price, two weeks before the winter sales period begins officially on January 13.

    “There are a lot of shops selling products at bargain prices and this is completely illegal,” said Melios Georgiou. “The fact that they are advertising this is additional proof of what's going on.”

    Georgiou said POVEK had already filed complaints with the Commerce Ministry and were waiting for it to press charges against a number of shops around the island.

    “Shops have been fined in the past, but the larger ones will not be affected since the financial benefits of selling goods at a discount outweigh the eventual fine,” he said.

    Shoes, clothing, furnishings and electrical goods could not be sold at a discount unless it was during either the winter or summer sales period, Georgiou said.

    “The only time they can sell something at a special offer is if it concerns one specific product and it is on a separate stand. A shopkeeper cannot, for instance, say everything is on a 20 per cent discount special offer.”

    Despite this, the Sunday Mail discovered nearly a dozen shops were not only selling products at a discount, but were also quite happy to flaunt posters advertising their 'special offers'.

    Indian Treasure Ltd in Nicosia was yesterday advertising 'Great Offers' with products marked 20 and 50 per cent off. But this was not really a 'sale', the shop assistant was quick to point out.

    “They're only special offers. Our sales haven't begun yet,” she pointed out when the words “illegal sales” cropped up during conversation.

    Terranova clothes shop also had a number of items reduced, although there were no enticing signs in the window hinting at special deals to draw consumers in. In fact, the manageress there was quick to assure the Sunday Mail that “sales are not allowed until January 13 - as it is illegal. These are merely certain special offers”.

    Shoes were also available on 'special offer' at the Milano Shoes & Boots store in Nicosia's Ledra Street.

    “I know it's illegal to have sales on now. This is just a series of special offers,” said the shopkeeper.

    Another shop, Lepus, was also selling watches and belts at 50 per cent off and one type of cuddly toy was reduced from £4 to £1.75. But again, this was not a 'sale', according to the shop assistant. In fact when the 'proper sales' began, there would probably be more bargains, she said.

    In all fairness to Lepus, downpricing toys is not illegal, according to Georgiou, since there is no law against selling them at a discount outside official sales periods.

    Three signs bearing the words “20 per cent off” were also proudly propped up in Bill Cost's front window. “Oh no, our sales haven't begun yet. They'll begin when an announcement telling us it is OK to go ahead. These are just special offers that started yesterday (Friday),” said the shopkeeper.

    Woolworths says it only offers 50 per cent off certain products to its clubcard members. Not just anyone is eligible since you have to be registered with the store, you discover after being taken in by the large posters advertising 50 per cent off. But the Sunday Mail was told that all you had to do was register there and then -- and instantly become eligible for the 'special offer'.

    Preludo has not started its sales either - not properly, according to the shop assistant. “We are only offering 20 per cent on all goods. This is a special offer, not a sale.”

    St. John was advertising special offer shirts for £6 in its window, Monique was advertising everything for half price for purchases over £15, except cards, and Little Harrow was selling CDs for 30 to 50 per cent less than normal.

    Although not all shops displayed signs advertising special offers in their windows, a closer look at the price tags revealed the opposite. For instance one shop selling men's shirts had crossed out a £19 sign and replaced it with a £16 special offer.

    “The sales don't begin until January 13. This is just a series of special offers until then,” said the manager.

    Not one shopkeeper admitted to breaking the law. Instead they all insisted they were merely advertising special offers and that the “real sales” would be begin, as planned, a week tomorrow.

    Only one shopkeeper, not 'guilty' of breaking the law said: “They might not admit to it, but they've started their sales early. It's the same every year and when one does it, the others follow suit.”

    But according to POVEK's Georgiou, this would quickly change if the Ministry brought one shop to justice, because all would then conform to the law, fearing their turn might be next.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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