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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-03-22

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, March 22, 2003


  • [01] Ministers defend airspace decision
  • [02] Pupils back in new anti-war protest
  • [03] Muslims gather in prayer for peace
  • [04] British Olympic team 'very close' to Cyprus deal
  • [05] Eroglu powder was not anthrax
  • [06] Polluter pays: chicken farm faces deadline to clean up its act
  • [07] Turks open fire on Turkish Cypriot at Pergamos

  • [01] Ministers defend airspace decision

    By George Psyllides

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday that a Cabinet decision to grant the United States access to the island's airspace was clear and that the matter was considered closed.

    The Cabinet on Thursday granted the US access to Cyprus' airspace, hours after they launched military action against Iraq.

    Cyprus also granted facilities for humanitarian emergencies and search and rescue in areas under the responsibility of the Republic.

    “I think the matter is closed, it was discussed extensively yesterday (Thursday), statements after the Cabinet meeting were clear and further discussion on the issue is unnecessary,” Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday.

    Asked why the government had decided to grant access to airspace when all along it had been saying that only facilities for humanitarian purposes would be provided, Chrysostomides merely said there had been further consultations, declining to go into details.

    He added that Cyprus had not asked for anything in return for granting access to the airspace, adding that any confusion had been dispelled by the Cabinet decision.

    Chrysostomides said that as far as he knew US forces had not yet used the airspace but he did not rule out its use in light of the problems America was facing with Turkey.

    The Turkish Parliament on Thursday granted access to its airspace but disagreements between the two countries have stopped the agreement from being enforced.

    Turkey has not allowed the US use of its airbases for refuelling, something that Cyprus could still be asked to provide.

    Chrysostomides said he did not think the US had requested permission to refuel on the ground but air refuelling fell within the rights granted for airspace use.

    The spokesman added that the US had not requested use of the air-force base in Paphos.

    Communications Minister Kikis Kazamias yesterday defended the government's decision, saying that under the circumstances Cyprus could not refuse the US request.

    He stressed that use of the ports and airports would be limited to humanitarian purposes and emergency situations.

    Kazamias was echoed by Interior Minister Andreas Christou, who said Cyprus could not do otherwise.

    “I am not happy but it was a decision taken under particular political circumstances,” Christou said.

    Christou noted that even France, which vehemently opposed the war, had granted the same facilities to the US.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 22, 2003

    [02] Pupils back in new anti-war protest

    By Tania Khadder

    PROTESTERS were back outside the American embassy to protest against the war yesterday, but unlike Wednesday's demonstration, yesterday's protest - apart from the odd egg launched at police - was a peaceful one from start to finish.

    An overwhelming majority of the crowd of around 300 was made up of school- aged teens in uniform, though there was the occasional twenty-something sprinkled throughout.

    Police blocked off access to the embassy with a ring of barbed wire and officers in riot gear, while protesters gathered in the surrounding areas, playing music and chanting slogans.

    “We will come everyday if we have to, because we cannot sleep at night when Iraq is being bombed,” the voice on the loudspeaker cried.

    One student held a sign that said “Bush/Blair you have blood on your hands, ” while others said “Stop the war” and “Make love not war”. A long banner lined the barrier between the embassy and the crowd, painted with colorful flowers and messages for peace. Some protestors waved Greek flags, and one young lady walked around with the Cypriot flag draped around her body. Early in the protest, a group burned the American flag.

    Many of the protesters were enthusiastic about the role of such demonstrations, and emphasised the commitment of young Cypriots to the anti- war movement.

    “We are here to show the world that young people in Cyprus care about what is happening,” Myrto Achnioti, a 14-year-old student said. “This is the first time so many people are coming out to protest. It wasn't like this last year when war started in Afghanistan.”

    “The anti-war movement in Cyprus is quite strong,” Kyriacos Kiliaris, a core member of the Stop the War Alliance, added. “It started with just a few small demos, but now it has grown without the help of any mainstream political party.”

    Some, however, were sceptical of how widespread a sincere anti-war sentiment actually was amongst the young people on the island.

    “There are thousands of students in Nicosia, but here today we only see a few hundred,” George Bakais, a 23-year-old student at Americanos College said. “Most of the young people have used this as an opportunity to go home for the day.”

    Nevertheless, all were united in their purpose, and blamed the United States for what they see as an unjust war.

    “We are here to say to Bush that we choose our leaders and our destiny, and it is not right for him to choose. If he wants to make peace he should go to Palestine first,” said Tawfic Abdel Ghafom, a 22-year-old Palestinian student, also from Americanos College.

    “We are sending the message that there is a power below that won't accept this unfair war,” added Kiliaris. “We want Bush and Blair to know that there will be a political cost to all of this. We want everything to be paralyzed until this war stops.”

    One 18-year-old student from the Higher Technical Institute, Eftychios Georgiou, drove to Nicosia from Limassol with his friends, and tied himself to a pole with duct tape. He wore a sign on his chest that read “Give Bread Not Bombs,” and likened his symbolic act to that of a protester in Baghdad who tied himself to the United Nations building with chains.

    Although only half-serious in his act of defiance, his concern over the consequences of the war was genuine.

    “Just like Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, the only casualties in this war will be women and children.”

    The third day of protest in as many days of bombing is to take place today at 11.30am at the Lefkotheo Stadium in Nicosia, with a demonstration put together by the Stop the War alliance.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 22, 2003

    [03] Muslims gather in prayer for peace

    By Sofia Kannas

    MUSLIMS of all nationalities gathered at Nicosia's Omeriye Mosque yesterday to unite in prayer against the war in Iraq.

    Hundreds of Muslims attended the prayer gathering, which was organised by the Mosque's imam, and planned to march to Eleftheria Square to demonstrate against the war.

    For Egyptian Ali Hussain, the strikes on Iraq by coalition forces are just another waste of innocent human lives.

    “So many children in Iraq are going to die, so many women and old people… But are they to blame in any way?

    “How many Palestinians are killed every day? We all know Saddam (Hussein) is not a good man but is (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon any better? Is this really a democracy? America must stop this war -- does everyone have to suffer because Bush is crazy?”

    An Egyptian teacher at the Mosque expressed his sadness at the war.

    “It's very bad. Just like the war between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots was bad.”

    A group of Pakistani students also called for peace before going into the mosque to pray.

    Anti-war banners scattered about the Mosque garden in preparation for the demonstration denounced American President George Bush as “the New Hitler” and called for “Bloody Bush (to) go home and take Blair with (him).”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 22, 2003

    [04] British Olympic team 'very close' to Cyprus deal

    By Sofia Kannas

    CYPRUS is very close to becoming the training base for the British Olympic Team in the run up to Athens 2004, according to representatives of the British Olympic Association.

    Olympic Performance Manager and Director of the Cyprus Training Camp Programme Richard Simmons and Chief Executive Simon Clegg were on the island yesterday concluding a three-day visit as part of the preparations for the probable use of Cyprus as a warm weather training base for the British Olympic Team for the Athens games in 2004.

    The possibility of Team GB basing its athletes in Cyprus was first mooted last April following a visit to the island by British Sports Minister Richard Cabourn.

    Speaking after a news conference in Nicosia on Thursday night, Simmons told the Cyprus Mail he believed the Association was “very close” to concluding a deal with the Cyprus Authorities, adding that “the whole thing is very imminent”.

    He also said the island was still the favoured venue for the training camp, ahead of other cities such as Barcelona and Madrid.

    Addressing journalists at the conference, Clegg said Cyprus was “ideal” in terms of both climatic compatibility with Athens and accessibility to the Greek capital. He also cited language as another factor, adding that the culture in Cyprus showed Greek and British influences, making it suitable culturally to acclimatise British Athletes to Athens.

    “British people feel very comfortable here.”

    He added that the facilities in Cyprus were impressive, another factor influencing their choice.

    “If the facilities were not good here, it doesn't matter how good anything else is, we wouldn't even look at (Cyprus). We have a level of facilities here that are either at a high enough level already or with some slight adjustment can be upgraded to the required level.

    “All of these points lead us to believe that Cyprus really is an ideal place to train.

    “We have had a very exciting visit… (and) our Minister (Richard Cabourn) remains convinced that this is the right place for the team,” he added.

    Clegg also confirmed that the Association was trying to create a permanent warm weather training facility on the island, something which he said would benefit both Britain and Cyprus, and enhance the ties and co-operation between the two countries in the areas of sport and sports tourism.

    Simmons stated that if a deal on the Olympics was agreed, up to 300 athletes involved in almost 30 sports would be training on the island over the next 18 months. He confirmed that preparations were already under way for a full size Olympic boxing ring to be brought over and assembled in the next two weeks.

    “We have examples of several sports having been here already. We also have 11 separate track and field groups coming here in May and training at the Paphiako stadium.”

    He added that most of the athletes, including four world indoor athletics medal winners, would be training in Paphos during April or May and staying at either the Imperial Beach Hotel or the Paphos Gardens.

    “Asia Hansen who recently won the World Indoor triple jump gold, will be here twice -- she's coming in April and will be back in May.”

    Clegg stressed the benefits for Cyprus that would result from the proposed deal, saying that the economic impact of Team GB on the community where the British training camp was based before Sydney 2000, amounted to over £1 million sterling.

    “I think that we will have 120-150 members of the British press here immediately before Athens which means potentially huge tourism exposure for Cyprus,” he added.

    Asked about security measures, Clegg said the Association considered Cyprus a safe place for British athletes despite the international situation.

    “We are always concerned about security… but in that respect I have every confidence in the security here and there is nothing that gives me undue concern at this moment in time.”

    Clegg and Simmons met with Commerce and Industry Minister George Lillikas on Thursday, to put forward their proposals and said they expected a response from the island's authorities at the end of the month.

    Cyprus Airways spokesman Tassos Angelis also confirmed that discussions were under way for the airline to act as the official carrier for the British Olympic team.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 22, 2003

    [05] Eroglu powder was not anthrax

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE VETERINARY services said yesterday said the powder found in a letter sent to the 'prime minister' of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state was not anthrax.

    At least four people were quarantined on Thursday after a letter containing white powder was opened in Dervis Eroglu's office.

    One of them was later hospitalised complaining of nausea.

    Apart from the secretary, three other people working in Eroglu's office touched and smelled the substance.

    The powder was sent to the state veterinary services for testing through the United Nations.

    UN spokesman Brian Kelly said the Turkish Cypriot side had asked the UN to communicate with the government services and ask for assistance.

    “The Greek Cypriot side replied that they were very willing to assist,” Kelly said.

    The suspect letter was placed in container and carried to the Ledra Palace checkpoint where it was handed over to the fire service.

    Veterinary services director Phidias Loukaides said the powder was examined and cleared.

    Asked why the envelope had been sent to the free areas instead of Turkey, Loukaides said the veterinary services agreed to help on condition the foreign ministry would give permission.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 22, 2003

    [06] Polluter pays: chicken farm faces deadline to clean up its act

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    ACCESSION to the European Union in May 2004 brings with it a bundle of obligations and responsibilities, including a vast number of protection measures on the environment.

    Industries face dramatic changes in their everyday operations if they wish to comply with EU obligations, or risk being left out of the loop.

    One example of EU environmental measures is the 'polluter pays' principle, which clearly places responsibility with the producer.

    Environmental Services officer, Costas Hadjipanayotou, told the Cyprus Mail that the 'polluter pays' principle dictated that a producer had an obligation, and the financial burden, to take measures to minimise the impact on the environment.

    “The principle is wide-reaching and covers areas from dumping waste to packaging,” he said.

    Asked about the dumping of chicken waste in Kokkinotrimithia reported last week in the Cyprus Mail, Hadjipanayotou said the Environmental Services were aware of the pools of chicken blood and body parts being dumped in fields by the Pipis Farm slaughterhouse, and were acting to put a stop to it.

    Under the polluter pays principle, Pipis Farm is obligated to treat the waste it creates to reduce to a minimum any harmful effects on the environment. Hadjipanayotou said the farm had until December to build its own biological treatment centre where all the waste from the slaughterhouse could go.

    The farm director admitted last week to dumping his waste in a field, saying it would be too expensive to transport it to designated areas.

    Now, with the added pressure of EU obligations getting nearer, the farm has nine months to build its own treatment centre. Hadjipanayotou added that until December, the farm would have to take its waste to the central waste- water treatment centre at Vathia Gonia incurring expenses of around £150 per day.

    The Environmental Services are giving the farm 10 days to start taking its waste to the centre or face being shut down.

    “After accession, producers have environmental obligations, but citizens have the right to go to court for a remedy against damages too,” said Hadjipanayotou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, March 22, 2003

    [07] Turks open fire on Turkish Cypriot at Pergamos

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH Cypriot 'police' yesterday opened fire on a 24-year-old Turkish Cypriot grocer after he tried to cross to the occupied areas through the village of Pergamos in the Larnaca district.

    Mehmet El Mas escaped unhurt.

    Mas has been living in the government-controlled areas since 2000 when he left the occupied north with his family.

    On Thursday night after a drinking with friends in the mixed village of Pyla, Mas tried to cross to the north through Pergamos.

    Reports said the 24-year-old was outraged because he had not been allowed to visit his relatives in the north since moving to the south.

    He approached the checkpoint but the two guards there reportedly refused entry since he had a 'Greek Cypriot' passport.

    Mas insisted and crashed into the steel bar blocking the road.

    The two guards then reportedly opened fired against Mas who sped off and abandoned the scene.

    He was not hurt, though his car was riddled with dozens of bullets.

    Mas said he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against Turkey.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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