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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-05-07

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

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


Wednesday, May 7, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Minister slams Greek Cypriots in overnight hotel stays
  • [02] House moves to end race club’s ‘betting monopoly’
  • [03] Policeman accused of drug dealing is remanded
  • [04] Overnight stays not allowed for foreigners
  • [05] Ministry to re-examine law on Turkish Cypriot properties in wake of new situation
  • [06] Journalists in solidarity protest for Sener Levent
  • [07] Experts called in to advise on juvenile delinquency
  • [08] EU preparing its own measures for Turkish Cypriots
  • [09] Ministry submits urgent bill to allow Turkish Cypriots to drive in the south
  • [10] CSPCA blasts authorities after paralysed dog dumped in field
  • [11] Top CY officials to fly to LA in crisis over sale of planes

  • [01] Minister slams Greek Cypriots in overnight hotel stays

    By George Psyllides

    TRADE Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas yesterday slammed Greek Cypriots going to the occupied north for tourism and recreation.

    He was attending a House Trade Committee meeting during which deputies unanimously condemned those who stayed at hotels and visited casinos and brothels in the north.

    “It is unacceptable for Greek Cypriots to have vacations in our occupied land; I think it is unacceptable in a semi-occupied country fighting for reunification, that some of our compatriots, to serve their selfish needs, wipe out the benefit of the society and the benefit of their country,” Lillikas said.

    Lillikas said the government would not impose limitations on the movement to the north, stressing that how to behave was up to each person’s conscience.

    The minister reiterated that the decision by the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state to lift restrictions in movement was not the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    In a message addressed to the Turkish Cypriots, Lillikas said that through a solution they too could benefit from European Union accession and enjoy all its advantages together with the Greek Cypriots.

    The minister said around 212,811 Greek Cypriots had crossed the checkpoint, including 39,381 cars.

    Concerning the overnight stays, Lillikas repeated the government’s opposition since day one, adding however that the figures had been exaggerated.

    Only a few dozens had stayed, and not several thousands as the Turkish Cypriots claimed, Lillikas said.

    On Monday, the government said it would get the names of all who had stayed over and despite being unable to prosecute them, it would support any Greek Cypriot owner of a hotel in the north wishing to file civil suits against them for illegal entry.

    The minister said the Cyprus Tourism Organisation was preparing a leaflet to inform visitors of the potential problems involved in staying in the north.

    At the same time, Lillikas said hoteliers and tour operators were satisfied with the government’s actions so far, but have asked for more measures to dissuade foreign tour operators from including the north in their holiday programmes. Foreigners are not allowed to stay overnight in the north.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [02] House moves to end race club’s ‘betting monopoly’

    By Alex Mita

    THE HOUSE Watchdog Committee is set to draft a bill that would put an end to what many deputies have decried as the Nicosia Race Club’s (NRC) monopoly on betting.

    The move is an effort to allow competition in the sector in line with the EU’s acquis communautaire, but the NRC says it would have serious economic consequences.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, DIKO deputy Andreas Angelides said the watchdog committee was looking at ways to clamp down on profiteering throughout the island.

    “There is a loophole in the legislation which practically excludes the Nicosia Race Club from needing a special licence to operate a betting office, which means that betting can only be carried out at the NRC or at official outlets,” Angelides said.

    “The NRC obviously has to meet certain tax and local authority commitments and of course the government also receives taxes on the betting, but the main thing is that there is a law that allows this particular club this special treatment and its not even a legal entity. We don’t allow public utilities like CyTA and the EAC to run a monopoly: are we going to allow the NRC?”

    But NRC director Panayiotis Kazamias brushed aside Angelides’ comments, saying the NRC was not monopolising anything.

    “Almost 70 years ago a group of British, Greek and Turkish Cypriots wanted to create a racetrack in Nicosia and the club was opened in 1936,” he said.

    “But in order to be able to run the racetrack they needed to be able to operate betting on the races. At the time, the law stated that a special licence was needed in order to be able to operate a bookmaker’s.

    “The then Governor of Cyprus decided to exclude the NRC from that law so that it could carry out bets Pari-Mutuel (a betting system in which winners share the total stakes minus a percentage for the management).”

    Kazamias said the NRC was not opposed to businessmen investing in building another racetrack.

    “We have a licence to operate a racetrack,” he said.

    “If anyone has the money to invest into building a racetrack, we have no objections for that person to apply for the necessary licences from the government.”

    But apart from being in danger of losing their grip on the island’s horse betting industry, the NRC has also met the wrath of bookmakers who are furious at being forced by the NRC to pay VAT on their earnings.

    “I work on commission here and I don’t charge my customers VAT,” one bookmaker said.

    “Why the hell do I have to pay VAT to the NRC when I don’t charge any?”

    The dispute over the VAT was expected to be sorted out by the Committee for the Protection of Competition (CPC) last night, but Kazamias was yesterday confident the NRC would be vindicated.

    “We have a contract with the Association of Horse Racing Betting Representatives,” he said.

    “When the contract was signed, the VAT was eight per cent. The contract states that the NRC would pay the VAT only when it was at eight per cent.

    “However, the contract also states that if the VAT is increased, the cost would be discussed by the NRC and the representatives. When the VAT was increased to 10 per cent the NRC was paying it, but when the VAT was increased to 13 and 15 per cent, the club could no longer cover the increased costs and asked the representatives to meet in order to discuss the issue, but they refused, saying it was our problem.”

    Kazamias said the bookies’ refusal to discuss the issue meant the dispute would be resolved at a meeting with the CPC last night.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [03] Policeman accused of drug dealing is remanded

    By a Staff Reporter

    A NICOSIA court yesterday remanded a police officer in eight day custody on charges of

    drug possession and dealing.

    According to CyBC1 television, the 32 year old policeman was allegedly named after

    drug squad officers arrested a 26 year old man for possession of 200 grams of cannabis,

    allegedly found in his car. In his statement, the arrested man allegedly named the

    policeman as his supplier.

    When police searched their colleague's apartment they found 635 grams of cannabis, said

    CyBC. The policeman then allegedly admitted the drugs had arrived from Greece four

    months ago.

    "It is unintelligible (and) inexcusable (for) police officers, who have sworn to uphold law

    and order, to be involved in illegal activities," said Police Chief Andreas Panayiotou.

    The policeman was suspended from active duty and both suspects were remanded in

    eight day custody.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [04] Overnight stays not allowed for foreigners

    By a Staff Reporter

    FOREIGNERS are not allowed to remain in the occupied areas after midnight, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday.

    Although the Turkish Cypriot regime now allows Greek Cypriots to spend three nights at a hotel in the occupied areas, this permission did not apply to foreigners, he said.

    The Republic viewed each case as “two very different” things, said Chrysostomides, refusing to elaborate further.

    In the past, foreigners had to return from their day visits to the occupied north by 5pm. This had now been extended to midnight, when the three Green Line checkpoints closed, he said. These were the Ledra Palace Hotel checkpoint in Nicosia, the Pergamos checkpoint near Pyla in the Larnaca district and the Strovilia checkpoint in the Famagusta district.

    Like Greek Cypriots, foreigners have to present their passports to cross to the north. Their passports are not stamped.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [05] Ministry to re-examine law on Turkish Cypriot properties in wake of new situation

    By George Psyllides

    THE INTERIOR Ministry will be submitting a comprehensive proposal concerning legislation on the management of Turkish Cypriot land some time next week, Minister Andreas Christou said yesterday.

    The government has been forced to look into the matter after many Turkish Cypriots applied to the Interior Ministry in relation with their properties.

    Speaking after a meeting held to discuss the matter, Christou said many Turkish Cypriots had visited the ministry to establish the status of their property, not to sell it.

    “There are the constitutional rights of every Cypriot citizen, Greek and Turkish Cypriot, but at the same time there are limitations stemming from the law on the management of Turkish Cypriot properties; these need to be looked into to be able to address the emerging issues,” Christou said.

    After the 1974 invasion, and the subsequent movement of Turkish Cypriots to the occupied north, their properties were handed over to the Guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties – the interior minister of the day – to look after them and return them when the political problem was solved.

    The minister said the government’s current policy must be “extended and completed, considering the movement of Turkish Cypriots and their reasonable requests and applications to the state, as well as the fact that since April 16 we are an EU member state.”

    Christou said all the parameters would be studied and a proposal would be forwarded to the Cabinet some time next week.

    The minister said the law did not have to be upgraded, but certain issues and cases that had emerged for the first time needed to be studied and interpreted in accordance with the law and the constitution.

    Christou said there were no figures on how many Turkish Cypriots had applied, but stressed that “many were interested, though the focus of their interest was to secure the property and not sell it”.

    The minister said that Turkish Cypriots wanted to know where their property was, if it was still in their name, and if it had been affected by any projects or changed in any way.

    “The Turkish Cypriots are interested in reaffirming their property,” Christou said.

    Concerning the Turkish Cypriot properties appropriated by the government for public projects, Christou said the issue would be looked into along with the rest.

    A lot of Turkish Cypriot land has been used to build estates to house the Greek Cypriot refugees that were forced to leave their homes in the north.

    In one case, the government settled out of court after a Turkish Cypriot demanded compensation for the use of her land in Limassol.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [06] Journalists in solidarity protest for Sener Levent

    By Jean Christou

    AROUND 30 Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists yesterday marched from the Ledra Palace checkpoint into the UN-controlled buffer zone to protest against the breakaway regime’s refusal to allow Turkish Cypriot publisher Sener Levent from crossing to the south.

    In a petition addressed to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, which was handed to an UNFICYP officer by the President of the Cyprus Journalists’ Union (CJU), Andreas Kannaouros, the journalists called on the UN, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe and other organisations “to make urgent and drastic representations to the Turkish government and the Denktash regime for immediate termination of the brutal hostage status of Sener Levent, respect for the freedom of press and freedom of expression in the Turkish Cypriot community, for the termination of the inhumane forcible partition and for the reunification of Cyprus and its people”.

    They also expressed support to Levent’s appeal to international and European organisations to denounce the action of the Denktash regime in keeping him hostage and to demand that his freedom and personal rights as equal citizen of Cyprus should be safeguarded.

    Levent, who renamed his Avrupa (Europe) newspaper to Afrika after he and two colleagues were arrested on treason charges two years ago, was refused access to the south on Monday to meet Kannaouros. Levent said he was allowed to cross last Friday without any problem but he was told he had escaped the attention of the police at the checkpoint at that time.

    Protestors yesterday carried pickets with slogans such as “An end should be put to the fascist hostage status of T/C journalist Sener Levent”, “To Denktash: Respect the human rights of Sener Levent”, “Sener Levent: I am a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus and I want to move and express myself freely” “To Denktash: Respect the freedoms and rights of T/C journalists”.

    Handing over the resolution, Kannaouros said: “We expect that the UN can and should do more, not only about this, but generally for terminating this forcible partition of the island and for the reunification of Cyprus and its people.”

    In a message conveyed to his colleagues by Memdouh Ener, imprisoned with Levent for six months by the Turkish Cypriot regime, Levent expressed his thanks to fellow journalists and said that “the Cyprus people will never be able to be really free if we are not liberated from the occupation and Denktash.”

    Kannaouros told Ener to convey to Levent his colleagues’ feelings of solidarity, underlying that “we do everything we can at home and internationally and we are determined to continue this struggle, and surely we will lead the problem to European courts and we will stand by Levent, his paper Afrika and other Turkish Cypriot journalists.”

    Levent’s brother Mehmet, who was among the journalists who attended the protest, said his brother once again tried to enter the government- controlled areas yesterday, but was not allowed because he is “under detention”.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [07] Experts called in to advise on juvenile delinquency

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE JUSTICE Ministry is seeking the advice of experts to deal with the growing problem of juvenile delinquency, according to Phileleftheros. The ministry has invited experts to submit proposals for a scientific study on the matter.

    According to the report, the ministry set out three main aims of the study: to outline juvenile delinquency in Cyprus; to examine the system of values held by young people, and to suggest policy measures based on evidence to prevent and confront juvenile delinquency.

    The process is a lengthy one, incorporating the documentation and analysis of juvenile criminal behaviour for the last 20 years, including crime statistics, number of charges and court and prison statistics.

    The experts who will take on board the project will have to provide a qualitative analysis on known criminal activity and examine how much violent crime can be attributed to foreigners or organised crime gangs, the report said.

    The Justice Ministry was quoted as saying: “The problem of juvenile delinquency is a multifaceted one, acting as a central issue in today’s contemporary society”. The ministry added, “to go from the thought to the act, that is, whether someone will go ahead and execute the crime or not, depends to a great extent on the effect of many variable factors”.

    One criminologist from the University of Cyprus noted that juvenile delinquency had been on the increase for quite some time. Professor Andros Kapardis has told the Cyprus Mail that Cyprus is witnessing a significant upward trend in juvenile crime. He maintained that not only was the age of offenders getting lower but also that young offenders were committing more serious offences than in the past.

    Kapardis said the recent spate of burglaries were the consequences of failure of the government to stem the rising tide of juvenile delinquency. “It is the failure of the courts’ procedure of supervision and probation orders that they have in place to deal with juvenile crime. Many young offenders end up under the care of wards of state and the Welfare Department, who are not specialised and are overloaded with work,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [08] EU preparing its own measures for Turkish Cypriots

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus, Adriaan van der Meer, told reporters yesterday that the European Union would announce its package of measures for the Turkish Cypriots by May 21.

    “The EU is currently in the process of designing the package of measures. They concentrate on three main clusters of activity: trade, aid and bringing the Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU,” said Van der Meer.

    He said the EU welcomed the easing of restrictions on the free movement of persons and the Cypriot government's “broad-ranging” measures to support the Turkish Cypriots announced last week, but noted that these developments were no substitute for a comprehensive settlement.

    Van der Meer described the recent developments as “overwhelming”.

    “The fact that Turkish Cypriots have kept personal things (of Greek Cypriots), like photos and other personal tokens, and are now in the position to give them back, I must say that I find it extremely touching and extremely deep in terms of feelings and emotions,” he added.

    Van der Meer expressed hope that this “new spirit” would lead to the resumption of the UN process to solve the Cyprus problem “as soon as possible”.

    But he added: “There can never be substitution for a comprehensive settlement. The only way forward to meet a comprehensive settlement on the core issues is via the Annan plan. I cannot see otherwise,” he said.

    Van der Meer was speaking at a news conference to announce Cyprus’s participation in the bloc’s celebration of Europe Day on May 9, with an event at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia between 9am and 8.30pm.

    President Tassos Papadopoulos will open the event. Members of the general public will be invited to walk through the exhibition, enjoy special delicacies from European countries, take part in competitions, win prizes, play with the “Euro-clown”, bounce on the “Euro-bouncing castle”, paint their faces with the colours of Europe, buy European souvenirs, lick “Euro- ice-cream” and watch a spectacular fireworks display. The event will combine entertainment and celebration with information and discussion. Two conferences on European issues will be held throughout the day.

    Within the framework of EU-Day, the organisers have set up an unofficial design competition for one side of the Cyprus euro-coin.

    “The idea is to stimulate European thinking. It is an all-embracing, multi- faceted event, illustrating the big jump the EU is taking with enlargement, ” said Van der Meer. “It is meant to illustrate that enlargement means diversity and unity. Part of EU integration is the recognition of cultural diversity. And on that basis, we work on a common policy based on shared values and notions,” he added.

    The EU-Day is being organised by the European Commission Delegation and the European Institute of Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [09] Ministry submits urgent bill to allow Turkish Cypriots to drive in the south

    By George Psyllides

    THE COMMUNICATIONS Ministry yesterday submitted an urgent bill amending vehicle regulations to enable the movement of Turkish Cypriot motorists in the government-controlled areas of the Republic.

    The bill, which is expected to be passed by the House on Thursday, provides for Turkish Cypriots wanting to cross over in their cars to be issued a temporary driving licence and road tax for their vehicles.

    If passed, Turkish Cypriots will be able to drive across the divide as early as Saturday.

    Communications Minister Kikis Kazamias said a quick way had to be found without recognising the documents of the breakaway state to allow the free movement of Cypriot citizens.

    “It would not have been very wise on our behalf not to show interest in helping them (Turkish Cypriots) enjoy the human right of free movement,” Kazamias said.

    “Turkish Cypriots wishing to drive in the free areas in their cars will be given a driver’s licence after it is determined they are Cypriot citizens, and not Turkish settlers,” the minister said.

    He said officers would be recording the car chassis and engine numbers to confirm that the vehicles did not belong to a Greek Cypriot up to 1974 and were not on Interpol’s list of stolen vehicles.

    Kazamias said the vehicles would be issued a cover note, which in general would be cheaper than what Greek Cypriots pay for cover in the north -- £8 – but more expensive if the car is left-hand drive.

    He added that five reliable companies had shown interest in insuring Turkish Cypriot cars, though one insurance agent told the Cyprus Mail this could spell problems.

    On the one hand, if the vehicle was covered only for the government- controlled areas this would automatically mean recognising the north as a separate entity.

    If, however, the cars are insured for the whole island, then insurers could face the situation of Turkish Cypriots driving back to the north, getting into an accident and claiming off the Greek Cypriot insurance, the agent said.

    “Personally I have been an insurance agent for 20 years, but I won’t insure Turkish Cypriot cars,” he said.

    “What if the car goes to the north, gets involved in a serious accident where someone is killed?”

    Greek Cypriots crossing over are actually covered by their insurance, though problems could arise when the Turkish Cypriot ‘authorities’ get involved. The Turkish Cypriots demand a separate insurance for cars crossing north.

    The Insurance Officer has warned that despite covering the whole island, insurance coverage cannot be guaranteed in the north since the law of the Republic cannot be applied there.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [10] CSPCA blasts authorities after paralysed dog dumped in field

    By Tania Khadder

    AFTER DUMPING his paralysed dog in front of the Cyprus Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA), a Nicosia man returned to collect it yesterday at noon, claiming he would instead dump it somewhere else.

    “I am very worried about this dog, my heart is bleeding,” Toula Poyiadji, president of the CSPCA, said yesterday.

    A caretaker saw the man leave his Chow Chow in front of one of their kennels on Monday night, and recorded his licence plate number as a cautionary measure. When Poyiadji called the police, they contacted the owner of the dog, who requested that the CSPCA take the dog to a vet for care and said that he would foot the bill for any medical costs.

    But Poyiadji insists that the dog must be down. “He is just suffering now,” she said. “But until the owner gives us permission to put him to sleep, we cannot do it. It would be a major liability.”

    Workers found it impossible to move the dog out of the sun this morning and into a more comfortable place because it was too aggressive and tried to bite anyone that came close to it.

    Poyiadji then contacted the Government Veterinary Services, and found herself stuck behind a bureaucratic wall.

    “They told me I have to write a letter explaining the case and fax it to them, meanwhile this poor wounded dog is suffering under the sun, covered with ants and laying in his own mess,” she said. “I cannot wait for them to process a letter and then decide to take action. This dog needs immediate help.”

    Klitos Andreou from the Veterinary Services said Poyiadji had to send a letter filing an official complaint against the owner before any action could be taken against him.

    Poyiadji said that while she was trying to convince authorities to intervene, the owner returned to the scene and carried his dog away, claiming he would leave it somewhere else. She also said that later in the afternoon, when she was at the police station filing a report, police got in touch with the owner again, who said he was not willing to provide any information regarding the location of the dog.

    “If he is in a field somewhere, it is only a matter of hours before he dies, ” Poyiadji said. “I am so disappointed with the behaviour of the authorities. What is our job if we don’t have competent authorities working with us?”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 7, 2003

    [11] Top CY officials to fly to LA in crisis over sale of planes

    By Jean Christou

    SENIOR Cyprus Airways (CY) officials will travel to Los Angeles early next week to discuss the crisis over the sale of its Airbus A310 fleet to an American company to which it already owes more than $1 million in penalties for failure to deliver on time.

    Acting CY chairman Achilleas Kyprianou, along with a senior CY management official and the airline’s London-based lawyers, will travel to the US to discuss the issue, an airline spokesman said yesterday.

    The last of the four A310s was due to be delivered to the American company ILFC on Saturday, but none of the planes were ready. The first plane was due for delivery on February 15, the second on March 15 and the third on April 15.

    CY is now being charged $7,500 dollars per day, per aircraft, past the delivery dates. As of today the total in possible penalties amounts to $1.2 million.

    Under the contract with ILFC, the four A310s were to be delivered under certain maintenance conditions, but sources close to the company told the Cyprus Mail that each time that work was done on the aircraft, ILFC wasn’t satisfied and wanted more. A provision in the contract states that the aircraft should be delivered to the buyer’s full satisfaction, meaning that the buyer is entitled to ask for whatever he wishes as long as he is satisfied.

    CY has already spent close to $10 million on upgrading the four planes, the source said, adding that once that was deducted from the total selling price of $40 million, the airline would be left with peanuts.

    “The airline has taken delivery of six aircraft from ILFC and that was very expensive,” the source said, referring to the national carrier’s recent investment of $65 million. “This whole business could be disastrous for Cyprus Airways.”

    Last month, the government launched an investigation into the problems arising from the renewal of the fleet, a move taken after the issue was tabled at the House Watchdog Committee, and shortly after then chairman Haris Loizides, who was appointed by the previous government, resigned.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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