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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-03-14

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

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


Friday, March 14, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Turkish Cypriots blast EU for 'wrecking talks'
  • [02] Petrol prices go up again
  • [03] Water board seeks to raise awareness
  • [04] National Guard joins blood donation drive
  • [05] Sun's coming out: so are the allergies
  • [06] Customer action group blasts bank behaviour
  • [07] Existing Sky subscribers to keep BBC despite end of deal
  • [08] Health Services refuse comment on chicken gore dump
  • [09] Verheugen: Cyprus needs to speed up energy harmonisation
  • [10] Trilingual folk tales bring children together
  • [11] Patient consent forms compulsory from April

  • [01] Turkish Cypriots blast EU for 'wrecking talks'

    By Jean Christou

    THE TURKISH Cypriot side has declared a war of words against the European Union after Brussels slammed Turkey for bringing down the Cyprus talks in The Hague, blaming the EU for the failure to reach a settlement.

    Compounding verbal attacks on the EU since Tuesday, the authorities in the north on Wednesday prevented EU ambassador Adrian van der Meer from crossing to address a medical conference.

    After The Hague debacle, when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, backed by Ankara, refused UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's request to hold a referendum on his solution plan, the EU warned the move had dealt a severe blow to Turkey's own accession aspirations.

    A statement by Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, read by his spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori on Tuesday, said that if there was no settlement on Cyprus by the time it became a member in 2004, “we will be facing this rather weird situation where a candidate country knocking at the door does not recognise one of our own member states.” He also agreed that Cyprus' accession as a divided island would mean that Turkey was in occupation of a member state, a comment which has incensed the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

    A statement issued yesterday by the 'TRNC Foreign and Defence Ministries' said Filori's comments had been received with “astonishment” and that the collapse of the talks was entirely due to the rigid stance of the Greek Cypriots. “Mr Flori (sic) does not have the slightest idea about the historical and legal realities in Cyprus,” the statement said.

    “It is feared that the EU, which has already dealt the biggest blow on the efforts for reconciliation in Cyprus by accepting the Greek Cypriot administration as a member… by making irresponsible statements may prompt the Greek Cypriot side into falsely believing that it could settle the question by resorting to force - something which can not materialise.”

    The first practical blow struck by the Turkish Cypriot authorities was stopping the EU ambassador from crossing. According to Turkish Cypriot press, the President of the Turkish Cypriot Medical Association, Dr Ahmet Gulle said that he had invited Van der Meer to address a seminar to mark medical week, but that the ambassador had been stopped from entering the north. The seminar had to be cancelled, Gulle said.

    "The EU perspective provides very important opportunities for increased and faster economic development and for solutions and peace for the countries related to the Cyprus problem. For this reason the approach to the issue with a rejectionist and prohibitionist mentality does not fit with contemporary thinking,” he told Yeni Duzen newspaper.

    Denktash, who is still in Turkey and not due to return to the north until tonight, also slammed Verheugen. “For years Mr Verheugen has been doing everything in order to frighten us and Turkey. He has done all he can to encourage the Greek Cypriots,” Denktash said.

    Denktash on Tuesday warned that if the Republic of Cyprus joined the EU, the Turkish Cypriot side would seek its own direct contact with the bloc and that there would be no point in continuing negotiations with the Greek Cypriots. “We will establish direct contact with the EU,” he said, adding he would approach the EU unilaterally to ask it to accept.

    But Van der Meer said yesterday this was not going to happen. Speaking after a meeting with the Communications and Works Minister Kikis Kazamias, the EU ambassador said: ''The regime in the north is not recognised by any state except Turkey and therefore we cannot begin direct negotiations with them.”

    Commenting on the UN plan in Istanbul, Denktash was quoted yesterday as saying there was no ground for reconciliation with the Greek Cypriots. “I continuously conveyed these facts to the UN Secretary-general,” he said. “In fact, lastly I told him it was not the time for him to come to Cyprus -- 'you will go back empty handed. This concerns your reputation because there are no grounds for reconciliation'.”

    On Tuesday, Annan said during a joint press conference in The Hague with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende that it had not been possible to reach a settlement because ''one party had indicated he would not put the plan to referendum and, of course, did not seem to seize the urgency of the work that had to be done for us to meet that deadline and so we did not get the results we wanted''.

    He said he wished the two leaders well if they wanted to continue talking. ''And, of course, if it gets to a stage where they think we can be helpful, we will always be prepared to help and they know where to find us,'' he said.

    However, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides yesterday ruled out any notion of talks with Denktash outside UN paramaters.

    “We wish to continue negotiations within the UN framework and according to UN Security Council resolutions. Under no circumstances will we divert from that framework,” he said.

    He also welcomed Annan's statement blaming the Turkish Cypriot leader for the collapse of the talks. “This is the most coherent statement by the UN Secretary-General as regards The Hague, and he blames Mr Denktash,” he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [02] Petrol prices go up again

    By a Staff Reporter

    HIGH crude oil prices took their toll on motorists yesterday who will now have to pay around two cents more for every litre of petrol and 10 cents per litre of diesel.

    As from yesterday afternoon, when the new regulations were submitted before the House, the price of a litre of super went up from 47.5 cents to 49.8 cents while regular saw a similar increase - from 46.5 cents to 48.8 cents a litre.

    The prices include VAT.

    Super unleaded petrol would now cost 48.6 cents a litre compared to the previous 46.3 cents, and regular unleaded would set motorists back 47.5 cents from 45.2 cents a litre.

    According to the new increases, heating fuel and regular diesel would now cost 33.4 cents a litre, compared to the previous 23 cents, while the price for low sulphur diesel was now set to 35.3 cents a litre from 25 cents.

    In January the House approved an eight-cent per litre cut on the basic price of diesel that was designed to compensate consumers for around £9 million paid on heating fuel taxes.

    The government had studied various methods, including colouring the fuel, to compensate for heating fuel tax but decided the easiest one would have been an across the board decrease in the price of diesel.

    The cut would have been effective until March 31, but according to Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas, the £9 million as well as an additional £2 million paid in heating fuel taxes have been covered and the government deemed it necessary to readjust the price to previous levels.

    The government's policy is to readjust fuel prices every six months, but instead of June, and for “reasons of national interest” it decided to re- adjust the prices three months earlier.

    Brent crude oil yesterday cost $34.25 per barrel but prices in Cyprus before the hikes had been set based on the previous price of $29.95 per barrel.

    The increases would provide fuel companies with an additional income of £2.1 million per month.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [03] Water board seeks to raise awareness

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE NICOSIA Water Board (NWB) announced yesterday that it would use March 22, designated as World Water Day, to raise public awareness and highlight the problems related to drinking water supply. Meanwhile, the board stressed that desalinated drinking water, which accounts for 95 per cent of total supply to the capital, is of extremely good quality, assuring consumers that the water goes through a number of rigorous quality checks.

    Water Board chairman Argyris Papanastasiou told reporters that World Water Day was a reminder to all that the planet's water was neither inexhaustible nor fairly distributed.

    International observance of World Water Day grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. It is used to address the problems relating to drinking water supply and increase public awareness about the importance of conservation, preservation, and protection of water resources and drinking water supply.

    “It is unthinkable that 1.1 billion people on the planet do not have access to clean water, nor is it acceptable that thousands of children die every day from diseases related to the use of inappropriate water,” said Papanastasiou.

    The awareness campaign will include the stamping of all mail passing through the Postal Service with a specific water slogan in English and Greek, as well as blood donations by NWB staff and a lecture.

    The chairman highlighted that after three decades of water restrictions, this year the greater Nicosia district had experienced a smooth, continuous supply of water. The Nicosia water supply requirement is calculated at 15.5 million cubic metres annually, 95 per cent of which comes from desalination plants with the remainder from the dams. Papanastasiou added that the level of water in the dams fared better than last year now totalling 65 per cent of storage capacity, or 180 million cubic metres.

    The chairman also announced NWB plans to merge with the Nicosia Sewage Board (SAL), with the first meeting between the two set for April 2. “We believe that this union of the two organisations will better serve the needs of the people by cutting costs for us and consumers, while providing a better service, as similar mergers proved in Europe” he said.

    Asked whether there was any doubt about the quality of desalinated water, Papanastasiou replied: “We are extremely satisfied with desalinated water. The drinking water which goes to the consumer is controlled at every stage and we are absolutely satisfied that it is totally safe for the consumer.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [04] National Guard joins blood donation drive

    By a Staff Reporter

    NATIONAL guardsmen yesterday joined in the race against time to find a bone marrow match for five-year-old Turkish Cypriot leukaemia sufferer, Jale Sakaoglu.

    By 11am, around 550 soldiers had donated blood at Nicosia's military hospital, according to National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Athanasios Nikolodemos.

    Two female officers had also been sent to help volunteers at the blood donation centre, which has been set up at the Ledra Palace Hotel in Nicosia's buffer zone since last Thursday, he said. The campaign ends at 5pm today.

    “It is a totally humanitarian and social act, which is completely moving and goes beyond weapons, statements and any other hostile actions,” Nikolodemos said. The military hospital would be open throughout the day, until there were no more people to give blood, added military doctor Christos Kyprianou.

    Biologists at the Karaiskakio foundation (Cyprus' bone marrow register) are working around the clock to screen all blood samples in this bi-communal campaign, with Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots across the Green Line coming together to donate blood. Doctors have said the little girl will die if a match is not found very soon.

    The campaign is being organised by the Bi-communal Forum, Doctors of the World, the Karaiskakio Foundation, the United Nations and the Kemal Saracoglu Foundation. The Ledra Palace is open for blood donations between 9am and 5pm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [05] Sun's coming out: so are the allergies

    By Alexia Saoulli

    FEELING wheezy? Experts warned yesterday that allergy sufferers would start to notice acute increases in their symptoms this week, and warned all those at risk to take the necessary precautions.

    This winter's heavy rains mean there is more pollen in the air, intensifying allergy symptoms, said Dr. Christodoulos Christodoulou.

    “We are expecting plants to start pollinating sooner this year. The copious amounts of rain we've had will have made the plants and trees healthier and stronger, so they will produce a lot more pollen,” he said. Until now, pollen allergy patients had not suffered too much because the rain had washed away the pollen. But with a rise in temperatures, experts are expecting pollen rises in the air, which will in turn bring on symptoms. These are a stuffy nose, which could lead to sinusitis or otitis in children, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and watery eyes.

    Although some patients have mould or fungus allergies, which are brought on during the rainy season, it was “far, far, far more common” for people to suffer from pollen allergies and the symptoms were much stronger. Pollen allergies varied from country to country, depending on indigenous plants, Christodoulou said.

    “In Cyprus, the two major allergies, which cause the most aggravation, derive from spring grasses and olive pollen,” he said. Dust mite allergies are also a major problem in coastal areas because dust mites thrived in high levels of humidity.

    “Usually, people should have had symptoms by now, but their onset have been delayed because of the rain. As the weather changes and the sun comes out, more pollen will be released into the air and patients will start noticing the difference over the next few weeks.”

    He cautioned sufferers to take precautions and avoid coming into contact or close proximity with particular weeds, trees or plants they were allergic to. Nasal sprays, eye drops, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory sprays, decongestion or even sinusitis medication were frequently used to help patients through an allergic rhinitis outbreak, he said.

    Christodoulou added some physicians had the habit of administering a form of cortisone injection or steroid before the allergy season began in order to prevent symptoms, but warned this was not an appropriate form of treatment because it could have adverse effects.

    Allergies usually begin in childhood, but can be developed at any age. Inheritance also plays a major role: if one parent suffers from allergies, then someone had 30 per cent chance of becoming allergic. If both parents are allergic the odds increase to 70 per cent.

    He explained allergies started out from an overactive immune system: the immune system protects us against bacteria and viruses; when you have allergies, your immune system wrongly tries to protect you from harmless things like pollen, he said.

    It only takes 10 minutes to find out if you are allergic. An allergist can carry out skin tests to confirm the allergy or to identify what is causing it. In skin testing, tiny amounts of various substances (such as pollen or dust mites) are applied directly to the skin through a tiny, sterile pinprick. If the area turns red within a few minutes, the patient is allergic to that substance.

    The good news is that allergies can be treated.

    “If somebody knows they suffer from allergies they can be desensitised,” Christodoulou said. “A series of monthly vaccinations for three years could make the immune system forget what it's allergic to and switch off from reacting to allergies in this way.” But, because the vaccinations were costly and time consuming, Christodoulou only recommended them for people who suffered from allergies perennially or for three to four months of the year, rather than just for a month a year.

    Unfortunately, allergy sensitive people can also adopt new ones if they are exposed to new forms of pollen.

    “I have many allergy patients from the US or UK who were never exposed to olive trees before moving here. Within six months to a year they become allergic to olive pollen,” said Christodoulou. “In other words, when allergy patients move to a new country they take their old allergies with them and can also adopt new ones.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [06] Customer action group blasts bank behaviour

    By Jean Christou

    A GROUP helping shareholders and customers who might have problems with the Bank of Cyprus yesterday accused the bank of putting pressure on a leading IT company to cut its web services to the organisation.

    In an announcement, the Bank of Cyprus Shareholders and Customers Action Group claimed the bank had pressured Avacom.net to cut services to its web site, set up several months ago, even though the group had a contract with the Internet company.

    “Basically, what the Bank of Cyprus tried to do was pressure Avacom to close down the website, although we had a contract with them; eventually because of the weight of the Bank of Cyprus they did so,” said the group's spokesman Kyriacos Pattichis.

    He said the website was still running after rerouting it through servers in the US.

    “The purpose of our statement to the mass media is to let people know what practices the bank is using to silence anyone who has a voice and is telling what they are doing,” Pattichis said..

    The group said its aim as an organisation was to watch out for the interests of customers and shareholders, on the premise that people could learn from each other's experiences with the bank. The website is in Greek and English.

    Pattichis said the idea started because when someone has a problem with the bank, they may not be away that others might have gone through the same experiences. “We might not be aware that there are others with the same problems,” he said, adding that the bank would prefer to keep it that way because it would find it easier to isolate customers and deal with them on a one-to-one basis, rather than as a group.

    He said the group had put details of allegations relating to the bank and the stock market on its website. “We gave information about what happened with the shares and how they were trying to fool the people,” he said.

    He said that they could sue Avacom for not fulfilling their contract “but the problem is not Avacom it's the Bank of Cyprus,” Pattichis said. “We know all the details. They called the chairman and told him bluntly: 'cut it (the website) off or otherwise you are in trouble'.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [07] Existing Sky subscribers to keep BBC despite end of deal

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE BBC is ending a deal with Sky Digital to transmit its programmes, but existing subscribers will not be affected, the corporation said yesterday.

    According to BBC news, as of May 30, viewers in the UK will be able to see all of the BBC's channels on digital satellite without the use of a viewing card, after the corporation ended its deal with Sky Digital to carry its services.

    BBC channels are free on Sky Digital, but viewers have received them either as part of other paid-for services or had to request a viewing card, which unscrambles the digital signal.

    From May 30 this year, the BBC's services will be broadcast without encryption so viewers without a Sky card will be able to watch. But it also means that new customers to Sky will not be able to access the BBC.

    But the change, which comes as the BBC's current contract with Sky for carrying its channels runs out, will not affect the existing 6.6 million Sky viewers and will still be available to non-subscribers who have a Sky dish. But it will mean the channels will be transmitted from a different satellite to the one presently used.

    Viewers will be able to buy a satellite set-top box, have a dish fitted and then receive a wide range of free channels, including all the BBC's channels, without a subscription or a viewing card.

    Nicosia company Malouppas and Papacostas said yesterday said they had not yet studied the developments. “We don't know what will happen,” a spokesman said. He declined to say how many Sky subscribers there were in Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [08] Health Services refuse comment on chicken gore dump

    By Alex Mita

    THE HEALTH Services were yesterday dismissive of reports of chicken blood and body parts being dumped into a field Kokkinotrimithia by Pipis Farm, saying they could not comment on “allegations”.

    Gallons of waste product including water infested with blood, feathers and chicken legs are dumped on a daily basis in the fields next to the Kokkinotrimithia cemetery. Layers and layers of rotting feathers have piled up around the area where a swamp of blood has formed. Sheep and goats were seen grazing in the area. The director of the farm admits he dumps the waste in a field, saying it would be too expensive to transport it to designated areas.

    But despite televised and printed reports on the situation, the Deputy Head of the Health Service, Lakis Anthousis, insisted yesterday he could not comment on the issue.

    Anthousis refused to address any possible health dangers that could arise from the waste, saying he could only comment once experts visited the area in the next couple of days.

    “There are conflicting reports and two versions of the allegations, from the citizens and from the farm management,” he said.

    “I cannot comment on something I have not investigated, I will need to send someone down there to have a look in a couple of days, we will give you an answer on Monday at the latest.”

    No one from the Centre for the Prevention of Diseases or the Veterinary services was available to comment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [09] Verheugen: Cyprus needs to speed up energy harmonisation

    By a Staff Reporter

    CYPRUS needs to speed up procedures to adopt European Union directives on electric power, according to a document drafted by the Enlargement Commissioner Gunther Verheugen.

    It was reported from Brussels yesterday that Verheugen would be sending letters to nine out of the 10 acceding countries, asking them to speed up their efforts in areas where harmonisation with the acquis communautaire is behind schedule.

    According to a document issued by Verheugen, the harmonisation procedure is generally going well, but -- with the exception of Slovenia -- delays have been observed in various areas in the other nine countries.

    Poland and Latvia seem to be experiencing most of the trouble, with Poland delaying in nine areas of the acquis and Latvia in five.

    The rest are having problems in one or two areas.

    Cyprus is showing delay in the energy sector, and the authorities will be asked by the Commission to speed up procedures for harmonising with the relevant EU directives on electric power.

    Trade Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas said yesterday that he did not know about any letter, but added that it would be studied when received.

    He said the energy issue concerned fuel reserves, the liberalisation of the electricity market, and renewable energy sources.

    Regarding fuel reserves, Lillikas said the government was already in contact with the Greek government to iron out an agreement whereby Cyprus' reserves would be housed in Greece.

    “An agreement will be signed soon,” Lillikas said.

    The bill concerning the liberalisation of the electricity market was ready apart from a few minor details, and will be submitted before the House shortly, the minister said.

    Lillikas said the ministry has already submitted a bill regarding renewable resources adding that he expected parliament to examine and vote on the draft soon.

    The EU's progress report is expected to be submitted to the current members in May, while the final comprehensive report will be submitted to the council of ministers in November - six months before accession to the bloc.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [10] Trilingual folk tales bring children together

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE FIRST trilingual book of Cypriot Folklore Tales in Greek, Turkish and English was launched at the Ledra Palace yesterday, as part of a bi- communal project sponsored by the UN and involving children from either side of the Green Line.

    The four tales contained in the book were written by Year 6 children from Highgate School in co-operation with Turkish Cypriot children from schools in the occupied north and were symbolic of the common heritage of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Speaking after the book's launch, Highgate Co-ordinator Eva Argyrou said “We thought it would be very good for the children to research and find out about their own community and also to find out about the community of the Turkish Cypriot children and so we brought together children from both sides who had to research folk tales, talk to their grandparents and parents. Then they wrote and illustrated the stories and I meet with someone in Pyla where we exchanged ideas.

    “We have many more stories that could be published if the money was available.

    “It was a very valuable experience for the children -- they have learnt a lot about each other.

    “I would like the children to meet, we hope this will happen at the launch of the second book of stories in Pyla.”

    Elena Demetriou and Athina Vlachou, who wrote the two Greek Cypriot tales for the first book, found the experience rewarding.

    “I really enjoyed the project. It's something I've never done before, and it was nice to work with Turkish Cypriot children,” said Elena.

    Athina added, “Its really fun because we got to learn new things and its nice for other people to learn about (the folktales)… and I have never co- operated with someone from (the north) before so that was good.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, March 14, 2003

    [11] Patient consent forms compulsory from April

    By Sofia Kannas

    DOCTORS across the island will now be obliged to seek approval from their patients before they undertake any form of surgery or specialised medical treatment, the Pancyprian Medical Association confirmed yesterday.

    From next month, all state and private doctors will have to obtain written patient consent in order to proceed on certain medical procedures; failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Medical Association President Dr Antonis Vassiliou said the process of obtaining written consent from patients was already under way.

    “Consent forms have already been sent to the Health Ministry and doctors, but formally the process will start in early April.

    “However, doctors are already using the forms. And from April any doctors found not to be obtaining patient consent will be taken before a disciplinary board.”

    Doctors brought before the Medical Disciplinary Board could be fined or suspended, depending on the board's decision.

    Vassiliou stressed the importance of the consent forms for patients.

    “The forms will give the patient the right to know what will happen to him or her during an operation.

    “This is a very important measure - with this form the patient is covered. Many times in the past patients have been treated like guinea pigs. But now they will know what will happen, the risks involved, side effects and other possible treatment options. They can now ask questions before agreeing with the doctor to undergo surgery or treatment.

    “The forms constitute an agreement covering both patient and doctor - it's good for both.

    “But above all this was introduced for the benefit of the patient,” he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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