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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-03-27

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

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


Thursday, March 27, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] British wounded being treated at Akrotiri, but no fatalities on base
  • [02] Cyprus friends pay tribute to cameraman killed in Iraq
  • [03] Some tour operators listing Cyprus as danger zone
  • [04] Government hopes De Soto report 'paints true picture'
  • [05] Police concern over soaring use of ecstasy
  • [06] Perdikis rifle damaged in house fire
  • [07] It fell off the back of a van…

  • [01] British wounded being treated at Akrotiri, but no fatalities on base

    By Tania Khadder

    THREE British soldiers injured in Iraq are being treated at the British Akrotiri hospital, but no fatalities have been transferred through Cyprus, British Bases spokesman Tony Brumwell told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    His comments came in response to persistent rumors in the local press that black body bags had been spotted being transferred to the bases.

    “There are certainly no dead bodies here,” Brumwell said. “There are about 20 casualties being treated here, most of whom suffer from injuries not related to combat.”

    Brumwell confirmed that there were three British servicemen at the Akrotiri hospital who had incurred injuries directly related to combat. He added that their injuries were not life-threatening, but would not provide further details.

    The remaining injuries have been the result of military preparations in Kuwait.

    Brumwell said he did not know what had sparked the body bags stories.

    “I don't know where the rumour came from,” he said. “Perhaps someone saw coffins, which we obviously need because there is a hospital and a mortuary here, and which may be used in the near future for casualties related to the war.”

    Brumwell added that each afternoon, an aircraft arrived at Akrotiri from Kuwait. While some injured servicemen were taken off the plane for treatment at the bases, others stayed on board to continue on to the UK.

    “Sometimes, the plane lands just to switch surgical teams,” he said. “This may cause some confusion as to how many casualties are actually at the base at any given time.”

    The British Bases had earlier denied allegations that troops with injuries from the fighting in Iraq were at Akrotiri, saying those receiving treatment at the hospital had been wounded in other ways.

    The hospital at the base is equipped with 90 beds and a full surgical team. Its capacity has recently been increased in preparation for the war in Iraq, though Brumwell stressed the intention was “for people to be sent back to the UK for surgical treatment wherever possible”.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    [02] Cyprus friends pay tribute to cameraman killed in Iraq

    By Sofia Kannas

    A MEMORIAL service for Paul Moran, the Australian cameraman killed in northern Iraq last weekend, will be held in Nicosia on Tuesday.

    Thirty-nine-year-old Moran was on assignment for Australian television channel ABC when he was killed when a suicide bomber blew up a taxi in the northern town of Sayed Sadiq. He was the first Australian casualty of the war in Iraq.

    Moran's friends and colleagues in Cyprus, where he had been based for several years, have organised a memorial service at the Catholic Church in Nicosia. The service will be held on Tuesday at 6.30 pm.

    Doros Polycarpou, Chairman of the Aliens Support Movement, yesterday expressed his horror and disbelief at his friend's tragic death.

    “On a personal level, I shared a house with Paul for a while when he lived in Cyprus and he was so lively, so optimistic and just a wonderful person. I can't believe he could have been so unlucky.

    “He managed to do the most amazing things as a journalist. He helped our organisation so much, and it was his work that brought the problems faced by refugees in Cyprus to light.

    “It's just a tragedy.”

    Mark Johnson said Moran would be remembered with great fondness by anyone who had ever met him.

    “He touched everyone he knew -- he was charming, an extremely likeable person… I believe the number of people who will attend the memorial service on Tuesday will be testimony to how much he was loved by everyone.”

    Friends Homer and Gosi Chrysanthou also paid tribute to Moran in a statement.

    “For those on the island who had the privilege of his friendship, Paul's zest for life and charm was contagious to all. His presence here as I'm sure in Bahrain and Paris, and wherever he left his mark will be greatly missed… Everyone who met him will have a similar story of this rather remarkable human being.”

    Paul had been covering the Middle East as a cameraman for more than a decade, and worked in Israel, Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia.

    Moran leaves behind a wife, Ivana, whom he met in Cyprus, and a two-month- old baby daughter Tara Alexandra. He had moved to Paris just six months ago to be with them.

    His friends in Cyprus plan to compile a collection of memories of Moran for his infant daughter.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    [03] Some tour operators listing Cyprus as danger zone

    By a Staff Reporter

    SEVERAL international tour operators have listed Cyprus as a danger zone in light of the ongoing war in Iraq, Tourism Minister George Lillikas told the House Trade Committee yesterday.

    Although foreign governments have not so far included the island in the danger zone, considering it a safe tourist destination, travel agents in Germany, Holland and Austria have listed it as a hotspot together with Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. These operators even allowed anyone who had booked a holiday in Cyprus to cancel it at no cost, Lillikas added.

    Another setback has come from the Greek government's decision to stop its students from visiting both Cyprus and Rhodes for their annual school trips this year, Lillikas said. But he added that he and Education Minister Pefkios Georgiades were in contact with their Greek counterparts to try and solve the problem.

    In an effort to boost the flagging industry, the Cabinet last week announced the suspension of landing and passenger fees and plans to inject an additional £7 million into overseas advertising campaigns.

    Meanwhile, following a visit to Limassol port, Communication Minister Kikis Kazamias said measures were needed to offset the financial hardships that the port industry was suffering because of the war. Kazamias added moves would be made to help develop the industry, despite the current global instability.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    [04] Government hopes De Soto report 'paints true picture'

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE GREEK and Cyprus governments were yesterday in close contact with the United Nations, ahead of UN Special Envoy Alvaro de Soto's report to the Security Council about the breakdown of the Cyprus talks later last night.

    The talks ended in failure earlier this month after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to allow Turkish Cypriots to vote in a referendum on UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's plan for a settlement.

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday the government was seeking to ensure that the good offices mission of the Secretary- general was safeguarded.

    Chsysostomides said he was hopeful the UN report would depict a true picture of the positions of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides during the talks and attribute blame where it was due.

    Chrysostomides said that a joint effort by Cyprus and Greece to inform EU countries on the collapse of the talks had already yielded results.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    [05] Police concern over soaring use of ecstasy

    By Alexia Saoulli

    GROWING numbers of young people in Cyprus are using ecstasy, Drug Squad Chief Giorgios Papageorgiou warned yesterday.

    He said 10,500 ecstasy pills had been seized in 2002, compared to 2,900 pills the previous year. In fact, more pills were seized last year than in the whole of the previous decade.

    There has been an overall 15 per cent increase in drugs cases from the previous year, with police investigating a total of 436 drugs cases involving 583 people, compared to only 398 cases, involving 509 suspects in 2001.

    Are the seizures down to an increase in supply and demand, or just to more stringent policing?

    “Police have always cracked down on drugs, but several years ago we only had 100 pills found because drugs weren't such a problem in Cyprus. Now, more people are using, there are more drugs on the market and so greater quantities are being seized,” said Papageorgiou. “If there were no drugs, there would be no finds.”

    He added that most of the drugs originated from England and Holland. In the past, it was Ayia Napa that was the centre of the problem with the influx of young tourist clubbers, but now the problem has spread throughout the island, he said.

    “Until recently, foreigners brought drugs to the island for personal use and only a few were sold on to locals. Now, unfortunately, more Cypriots abuse drugs and so dealers bring them here for the local market.”

    Although police did go undercover, and did confiscate pills from users in nightclubs, the large-scale operations were targeted at dealers.

    “These busts you hear about are from dealers who plan to sell the drugs. That's why we find these large quantities.” On one occasion last year, 6, 000 pills were found in Limassol, he said. Police believe they were destined for clubbers around the island.

    “We are after dealers, not users,” stressed Papageorgiou, adding users rarely led police to their dealers.

    One occasional user told the Cyprus Mail users were reluctant to rat on suppliers who were often friends.

    “I get my pills from my friends. I pay them and they pay whoever they get it from. We only use ecstasy, which is no big deal. Ecstasy is not the killer people say it is; we only want to have a good time, and, after all, we are over 18,” the source said.

    But, according to UK statistics, ecstasy is the cause of one per cent of all drug related deaths and at least four people die from it in the country every year. Although there is no conclusive evidence as to its long-term effects, some experts suspect that there may be a link between brain damage and long-term use.

    Despite the negative press, ecstasy use has steadily increased in Cyprus. This was because drug pushers were spreading the word that the pills increased energy, helped dancing and even improved the quality of sex, said Papageorgiou. They did this through various forms of communication, including the Internet. “It is advertised as a safe, recreational drug and youngsters are taken in by this. But, these messages are completely untrue. Ecstasy is dangerous and has left people dead in Europe.”

    He added that others also had a responsibility for prevention.

    “The police should suppress what drugs exist, but cannot prevent increasing trends to use. Everyone must be involved and work together in achieving that. This is a social problem and therefore all fabrics of society are responsible for spreading the word that it is a problem.

    As the problem grew, more police efforts to deal with it were needed, said Papageorgiou. “The drug squad was reinforced with manpower at the beginning of the year and we are hoping it will be reinforced further,” he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    [06] Perdikis rifle damaged in house fire

    By a Staff Reporter

    A MILITARY rifle belonging to Green Party deputy George Perdikis was damaged in a fire that broke out in his house on Tuesday, it was confirmed yesterday.

    The fire was caused by sparks from his fireplace, but it was quickly put out by members of the Fire Service.

    Deputies are exempt from reserve duty in the National Guard and questions were raised as to why Perdikis had been issued a rifle.

    But speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Perdikis said he had not been officially discharged from his unit and that he was still serving as a reserve.

    National Guard spokesman Lt. Colonel Andreas Yiorkas said Perdikis had insisted on not being exempt from service in the reserve regiment.

    “He refused to be exempt from serving as a reservist and that is why he was issued a rifle,” Yiorkas said.

    “An investigation will be launched to determine the cause and the extent of the damage to the rifle and then it will either be repaired, or Mr Perdikis will be issued a new one.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    [07] It fell off the back of a van…

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    BURGLARS tried to make off with a 250 kilo safe from a Nicosia office yesterday only to discover that the resilient object was more trouble than it was worth. As soon as the robbers loaded the safe onto their get-away vehicle, it fell off, landing in the middle of the road with a loud bang, waking up neighbourhood dogs and night sleepers. Running out of patience with the weighty object, the thieves left the box where it was for police to discover later.

    The safe was stolen from Nicholson House offices on Nicodemou Mylonas Street at around 1am yesterday morning. Burglars broke in through the manager's office on the ground floor and found the safe next door in the accountant's office. From there they moved the safe about 25 metres to the shop window facing the main street where their car was parked.

    Office manager, Stelios Nicholson told the Cyprus Mail what he thought had happened: “The safe is about 1.5 metres tall and weighs 250 kilos. They probably used bars to roll it across the open-plan office to the shop window, which also acts as a sliding door, and lift it onto their vehicle. It usually takes four people to lift.”

    Nicholson said it was likely the robbers didn't push it in far enough once it was on the car, because when they drove off the pavement, the safe jumped out of the back and onto the main road outside the offices.

    “My brother lives on the top floor of the building and heard a loud bang. The dogs started barking and the thieves probably decided it was too much trouble to try and get it back on the car, so they left it there.” he said.

    A police patrol soon spotted the safe lying in the middle of the road and cordoned off the area to avoid any accident. The safe spent the night on the street and was returned to its rightful place in the accountant's office in the morning.

    Nothing was stolen from the safe, which contained £700 in cash and cheques and various documents.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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