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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-03-15

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, March 15, 2003


  • [01] Verheugen: Cyprus was the first casualty of looming war in Iraq
  • [02] Vassiliou's resignation accepted
  • [03] Georgiades launches campaign to clear his reputation
  • [04] Bank says customer website illegally used its name
  • [05] Existing Sky subscribers to keep BBC despite end of deal
  • [06] Minister pledges Bell reassessment

  • [01] Verheugen: Cyprus was the first casualty of looming war in Iraq

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE EUROPEAN Commissioner for Enlargement, Gunther Verheugen, has labelled Cyprus “the first casualty” of the imminent war in Iraq.

    The comment was made in the aftermath of Monday's meeting in The Hague, when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, backed by Ankara, rejected the request by UN Secretary Kofi Annan to allow Turkish Cypriots to vote in a referendum on his peace plan, scuppering attempts to admit a reunited Cyprus to the European Union by April 16.

    Speaking at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris on Thursday night, the Enlargement Commissioner expressed his regret that the UN initiative to reunite the island had failed, adding that The Hague talks had been “the closest (the international community) had ever come to reaching a solution.” He suggested that the Cyprus Problem had been dealt a severe blow by the looming war in Iraq, by weakening Turkey's willingness to seek a solution.

    Verheugen said the new Turkish Government had initially been “very open and constructive” with regard to efforts to reunify the island, but added that the Iraq crisis had altered Turkish concerns, relegating the Cyprus Problem to a third priority.

    Verheugen's sentiments were echoed by Greek Premier Costas Simitis, who on Thursday noted that Turkish Cypriot intransigence coupled with Turkish preoccupation with Iraq, had combined to hinder a solution: “the responsibility lies with the protracting policy of the Turkish Cypriot side which, assisted by the fact that Ankara was busy with Iraq, caused a deadlock.”

    Ankara has faced increasing pressure from Washington to agree to allow the US to use Turkey as a “northern front” in a war with Iraq in recent weeks.

    Simitis also warned that in Greece's view the unsolved Cyprus problem could mean the island would “be a hub for a possible crisis in the eastern Mediterranean”.

    For this reason, he added, “the Cyprus problem is the first issue of our external policy. The sooner Turkey realises in which direction history is proceeding, the better it is for the region.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 15, 2003

    [02] Vassiliou's resignation accepted

    By a Staff Reporter

    PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos has accepted the resignation of chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides confirmed yesterday.

    Vassiliou handed in his letter of resignation the day after the presidential elections in February.

    Chrysostomides said the President intends to fill the vacancy once he returns from the US in about a week's time. Papadoupoulos left for the US yesterday for an annual medical check-up. “The President has written to Vassiliou to thank him for his services,” Chrysostomides said.

    Chrysostomides said that despite the fact that the island had concluded its accession negotiations with the EU, Cyprus still needed a chief negotiator.

    “There is still the need to monitor the implementation of the acquis communautaire in Cyprus until we actually join in May 2004,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 15, 2003

    [03] Georgiades launches campaign to clear his reputation

    By Alexia Saoulli

    MUSICIAN Doros Georgiades has launched a campaign to clear his reputation after the Supreme Court unanimously overturned his conviction for indecent assault against five under-aged girls.

    In a written complaint to the media, his lawyer Evangelos Pourgourides said Georgiades “had literally been annihilated by the mass media in the way they publicised the charges against him in August 2001”.

    Georgiades, 53, was convicted on five counts of indecent assault in January last year. A year later, the Supreme Court overturned the decision because of “the abuse he suffered at the hands of the mass media, which influenced his right to a fair trial through various publications,” Pourgourides said.

    In his letter, the musician's lawyer called for an apology and fair compensation to be made to his client within 10 days.

    Journalists' Union President Andreas Kannaouros told Politis newspaper it was “unprecedented and unheard of for compensation and an apology to be called for, as if his lawyer had already tried and convicted the case. As the Journalists' Union we are against resorting so easily to law courts, and maintain libel charges must be used very economically, if in fact there really is slander involved. Whoever resorts to the judicial system must show great restraint”.

    As for bestowing an apology on Georgiades and giving him fair compensation, Kannaouros said: “This letter takes it for granted that some newspaper committed an offence and is calling for a decision as to what the punishment should be. This is unheard of. If they are convinced that the law was broken, then only a court of law can make that decision.”

    He added the union was against irresponsible journalism and that everyone had to respect human rights and evidence of innocence. However, he warned, people also had to be very restrained when making a libel charge.

    Commenting on Pourgourides' letter, Publishers' Association President Anthos Lykavgis said it was matter of justice. “There are laws and the implementation of those laws are respected by us. Anyone who has a complaint can take it up with the courts. Any sort of blackmail directed at gagging the media is unacceptable, when all they did was inform citizens about a serious case. That does not mean that they pre-condemned a suspect, ” he said.

    Lykavgis added that using arguments claiming suspects had been convicted by the media had to stop. In order to avoid such claims in future, he said members of the media needed strictly to adhere to journalistic ethics, so there would be nothing to fear.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 15, 2003

    [04] Bank says customer website illegally used its name

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE BANK of Cyprus (BoC) yesterday denied claims it had put unnecessary pressure on a leading Cypriot IT company to stop its web services to an organisation which helps BoC shareholders and customers.

    In an announcement issued on Thursday, the Bank of Cyprus Shareholders and Customers Association Group alleged the Bank had put pressure on IT company to cut services to the group's website, which functioned with the domain name, despite the fact that the group had a contract with the Internet company.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday a BoC Investor Relations Officer said the group had used the bank's name illegally in conjunction with the website.

    “This website went live four or five months ago and they used the BoC name in the website's address. In other words, they used our name to advertise something not published by us, and international law states that you cannot do this.”

    The officer added there were many international cases to prove the illegality of using a brand name without authorisation and denied that the BoC had pressured to stop hosting the website.

    “We didn't pressure the company. We told that this (set-up) was not legal and they didn't want to host the website anymore, as they knew they could be sued for doing so.

    “In fact no Cypriot IP provider is willing to host the website -- I believe it's now hosted by a Russian IP provider.”

    Asked if the BoC were considering suing the group, the officer said there were no such plans at present.

    “We've got a legal opinion and we are trying to persuade the group to stop persisting with the website at the moment.

    “But we will await developments in the next two months and then proceed accordingly,” the source added.

    A source at yesterday confirmed that BoC had asked the company to remove the group's website from its server.

    “They (BoC) called us up again and again asking us to remove the site from our server and after we looked at the website we decided to do so.

    The source added that the Internet company was not aware that the group was using the BoC name illegally when it agreed to host the website.

    “The group came to us as normal customers and paid for our service, but we didn't know what was going to be in the domain name at the time.

    “We did what the BoC asked us to do and helped the bank out. It is not easy to remove a customer from a server, and in doing so we lost a customer, and had to reimburse the group. But we didn't want any trouble.”

    But the problem has not gone away.

    “I warned (BoC) that the domain name could be used abroad instead -- and in fact this is what has happened,” the source added.

    But the group's spokesman Kyriacos Pattichis was adamant yesterday that his organisation was doing nothing wrong.

    “Our domain name ends in 'org', which stands for 'non-profit organisation' on the internet. That's precisely what we are, a non-profit organisation aiming to help the bank's customers and shareholders.

    He added that as the BoC's mainstay, the customers and shareholders should be the bank's priority.

    “Since the bank is dependent on its customers, then it follows that what's in the interest of the customers and shareholders is in the interest of the Bank of Cyprus. And as we are helping the customers, we are also helping the Bank.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 15, 2003

    [05] 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

    Saturday, March 15, 2003

    [06] Minister pledges Bell reassessment

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    DEFENCE Minister Kyriacos Mavronicolas pledged to take a closer look at a manufacturer's report, extracts of which were published in yesterday's Politis, which calls for the complete make over of the National Guard's two remaining Bell 206 helicopters.

    The report, compiled by Bell experts last September, exposes the submission that the two helicopters require a complete disassembly for full repairs, after finding numerous discrepancies on the flying machines.

    The assessment was made in the aftermath of the helicopter tragedy, which killed five National Guard officers including its commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis in Paphos last July.

    After examining the two remaining helicopters, Bell experts observed there was enough corrosion on the structures to warrant their complete disassembly for further inspection. The manufacturers also highlighted the need for repair of mechanical damage inflicted on the flying machines, such as “cracks, dents, sheet metal damage and loose and working rivets”.

    Faults were also recorded in the helicopters' pilot systems and fuelling equipment. The report implied that National Guard personnel did not possess the necessary skill and qualifications to carry out maintenance and repair of the Bell helicopters, and suggested that they be transferred to a centre sufficiently equipped for repairs.

    Mavronicolas played down suggestions that the report provided new evidence on possible causes of the ill-fated Bell helicopter crash last year by saying that the National Guard had already received the experts' report on September 10, 2002. “This has been examined by the National Guard some time ago, but with the resurfacing of the report in the media, be sure that within the next few days the whole issue will be re-examined,” he said. He added that the matter had already come before the House Defence Committee and Defence Ministry, maintaining that he was in the process of being fully informed and would reveal all to the public very shortly.

    The minister confirmed that the two helicopters were grounded as a precautionary measure after repeated examinations.

    Asked whether there was any doubt about the capability of National Guard staff in the maintenance of the Bell helicopters, he replied, “We believe that the staff have the capability and power to handle the control of these helicopters.”

    House Defence Committee member, Antonis Karas, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that there was no question the maintenance of the fallen Bell 206 had anything to do with the accident. “The committee, which has completed its report on the crash, received reports from Bell saying that the helicopter did not fall from a mechanical fault. The accident occurred as a result of a fire, but no one knows why there was a fire,” said Karas.

    He added, “If the remaining helicopters need repair and maintenance than it is the committee's stance that they should get it.”

    However, Karas maintained that the committee had not been shown Bell's assessment of the remaining helicopters that was sent last September.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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