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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-05-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, May 16, 2003


  • [01] AIDS problem ‘much worse’ than government suggesting
  • [02] Pupils given Turkish option for September
  • [03] Cyprus graduates to the world of wine
  • [04] Turkish soldiers threaten Athienou farmers
  • [05] Journalists’ union slams bishop for ‘bribe’ claim
  • [06] Bush puts American weight behind Annan plan
  • [07] Government slams ‘fanatical’ Denktash views
  • [08] CY confirms deal with US leasing company
  • [09] Rally gets last-minute reprieve
  • [10] Refinery manager accused of withholding information in deal with Iranian company
  • [11] Possible SARS patient in Limassol hospital

  • [01] AIDS problem ‘much worse’ than government suggesting

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE AIDS problem in Cyprus is much more serious than the government is suggesting, the House Health Committee heard yesterday.

    Stella Michaelidou, chairwoman of the AIDS support group, KYFA, charged that the number of HIV positive people and AIDS sufferers was much higher than the 390 the Health Ministry claimed.

    Michaelidou said the real number was between 3,000 and 5,000 people, and stressed the urgency of drafting a comprehensive national policy to tackle the problems facing AIDS sufferers.

    She said the money given to them by the state was not enough – some receive only £190 a month – and there was a huge problem with employment.

    Most businesses refuse to hire HIV positive people.

    Michaelidou added that sufferers needed a place where they could get psychological support, as well as a shelter for some problematic individuals.

    But before anything was done, Michaelidou said it was important to educate people in the issue to avoid remaining prejudices.

    She said common people were ignorant of certain details regarding the disease, creating fear, prejudice and stigmatisation, which discouraged some patients from visiting the Grigorios AIDS clinic in Larnaca.

    Health Ministry official Lora Papantoniou said the state spent over £1 million a year for the treatment of AIDS patients, adding that in recent days there had also been an increased flow of patients coming from abroad to be treated in the AIDS clinic.

    Papantoniou said that by the end of last year there had been 390 recorded cases on the island, 229 of them Cypriots.

    The head of the Larnaca AIDS clinic, Dr Yiannis Demetriades, said the state had spent a lot of money on treatment, adding, however, that a place was needed to house serious cases.

    Demetriades said the clinic had gained recognition from many countries for the high standards of treatment it provided.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [02] Pupils given Turkish option for September By Alexia Saoulli

    THE EDUCATION Ministry will know how many students have chosen Turkish as a foreign language option by the end of the month.

    Plans to introduce Turkish into the Greek Cypriot school curriculum are part of the government’s measures – announced on April 30 – for the Turkish Cypriot population in the occupied areas. The provision was also included in UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan’s plan for a solution. The new lessons will begin in the new academic year in September.

    However, there are currently no thoughts to make the language compulsory in the education system, said Ministry official Charalambos Hadjithomas.

    “At the moment, we have introduced Turkish as an optional foreign language for Lyceum students,” he said. Until now, students had to choose two foreign languages from a choice of six, including Russian, Italian, Spanish, French, German and English. With the introduction of Turkish, the choices have been extended to seven, and it is the first time the language has been available within the school system.

    “So far, students wanting to learning Turkish had to do so at state institutions in the afternoon as an extra lesson. It was not part of the curriculum,” said Hajdithomas.

    Although students have already filled in their option forms for next year, all Lyceums around the island have been instructed to inform their pupils that Turkish has now become an option.

    “If they want to change their language option they can still do so. If they don’t want to learn Turkish, then that’s up to them,” he said. They will also have the option of having two, four or six periods of Turkish, as applies to all foreign languages, he added.

    The ministry has not yet decided how many Turkish teachers will be needed, how many classes will be formed, how many periods a week the teachers will teach or how many students will make up each class.

    “We are waiting to hear from the head teachers of all the schools by the end of the month and only when we have gathered all the information we need, will we decide how many Turkish teachers we need and for how many hours a week,” said Hadjithomas.

    He said the suggestions would then be put before an educational committee, which would then approve or reject them, and decide on the finer points, such as whether or not they would be employing teachers from the occupied areas.

    Hadjithomas would not speculate on how popular the Turkish option might prove with students. “I cannot hypothesise what sort of choices they’ll make. We’ll wait and see what sort of information all the schools’ headmasters give us at the end of the month.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [03] Cyprus graduates to the world of wine

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE RUINART Trophy for best Cypriot sommelier will take place this Saturday in Limassol at the Four Seasons Hotel. This is the first time the local competition will take place and marks the international recognition of the Cyprus Sommelier Association. The winner of this year’s competition will go on to represent the island in the Ruinart Trophy for the Best Sommelier in Europe.

    The Trophée Ruinart (Ruinart Trophy) tests sommeliers’ skills and knowledge relating to wines from all over the world. It includes knowing how to serve wine, as well as determining where a certain wine comes from depending on its taste.

    The trophy became international in 1986, and in 1988 launched the Ruinart Trophy for the Best Sommelier in Europe, which takes place every two years in Rheims, in the Champagne region of France. Italian Enrico Bernardo won the Ruinart Trophy for the Best Sommelier in Europe last year.

    The local biannual event is organised by La Maison du Vin, the Cyprus Sommelier Association and the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, local Ruinart representative, Vassos Papadopoulos, told the Cyprus Mail. The president of the House of Ruinart, Count Roland de Calonne, and the president of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, Guiseppe Vaccrini, will also be present this year.

    Although the island does not have a name for its wine experts, we are fast improving, he said.

    “We have to start somewhere,” he said. “This year, the Cyprus Sommelier Association was founded and recognised by the international sommelier association. Two years ago, no one knew anything. Now we have improved out knowledge of wines and our sommeliers take lessons or go abroad to follow wine courses. (And) I believe that in two years our sommeliers will be much improved.”

    There are 40 members in the local sommelier association. Twenty of them will be taking part in this year’s competition from hotels and restaurants around the island, said Papadopoulos. These include the Four Seasons hotel, the Le Meridien hotel, the Neon Faliron restaurant and the Barolo restaurant (in Limassol), the Columbia Resort (in Pissouri) the Amathus hotel and the Opus Restaurant, the Coral Bay hotel (in Paphos) and Pralina Restaurant/café (in Nicosia).

    The competition starts at 9am and begins with a secret questionnaire on sommellerie, which has been prepared and sealed in Italy. The three winners then take part in the second phase of the competition at 4.30pm. Only selected people have been invited to the competition, which promises to be “exiting and interesting” event, he said.

    “They have to compete in front of 250 people in all phases of sommellerie, including serving wine, opening champagne and describing the taste of wines that have been selected by the committee of judges, while they are out of the room,” said Papadopoulos. The committee includes wine experts, reporters, a connoisseur and Greek master of wine (of which there are only 235 worldwide) Constantinos Lazarakis.

    Following the competition, between 6.30pm and 8pm, the audience of the competition will be able to enjoy a champagne reception. At 9pm, the Four Seasons has organised a black-tie gala dinner held in honour of Count Roland de Calonne. Tickets to the dinner cost £57 per head and all 150 places have already been taken.

    “The gala dinner is being sponsored by Ruinart and La Maison du Vin. If the tickets were priced according to their value they would have been £200 each because of the wine and champagne being served,” he said. The impressive list includes the four champagnes, ‘R’ Ruinart, Ruinart Rosé, Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 1993, and Dom Ruinart Rose 1988. The red wine which will be served is Magari 2000 by Angelo Gaja.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [04] Turkish soldiers threaten Athienou farmers

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH soldiers yesterday threatened two farmers at gunpoint in Athienou and forced them to leave their fields, which are situated on the edge of the buffer zone.

    Athienou mayor Gavril Kazazis said the two farmers had, as always, secured permission from the United Nations before entering their fields.

    “This morning, two farmers from the village went to collect their wheat on the edge of the buffer zone, after getting permission from the UN.

    “At that moment, Turkish soldiers descended from their guard posts, crossed the ceasefire line and threatened to detain the farmers,” Kazazis said.

    The mayor said the two were forced to leave, adding that there had been three or four similar cases in the past month.

    Kazazis said the Turkish guard posts were quite far from the fields, noting that the Turks did not want the specific area to be cultivated.

    “Maybe they’re trying to create tension, because the area has been cultivated for years, but this year they’ve been continuously creating trouble,” the mayor said.

    Kazazis said the problem had already been reported to the foreign and interior ministries and it was now up to them to make moves to resolve the problem so that farmers could freely cultivate their land.

    The whole village of Athienou is situated in the buffer zone, but farmers only need permission for the specific area, which is the most distant.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [05] Journalists’ union slams bishop for ‘bribe’ claim

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE chairman of the journalists’ union yesterday called on the Bishop of Paphos to substantiate allegations that journalists received money to promote the causes of specific bishops.

    Bishop Chrysostomos charged on Wednesday that certain bishops had the money to ‘buy’ television and radio stations as well as newspapers and journalists to promote their candidacy for the archbishop’s throne.

    The claims were made a day after the Holy Synod voted against declaring the Archbishop’s throne vacant, which would have led to elections.

    Union chairman Andreas Kannaouros yesterday urged Bishop Chrysostomos to substantiate his claims, stressing that if he did not he would be responsible for lying.

    Kannaouros said the bishop’s charges tarnished all journalists, adding, however, that if there were people doing such things, then the union would be merciless and would not allow a shadow to be cast over all journalists.

    Kannaouros said he had written to the Attorney-general asking him to look into the matter and to invite the bishop to back his claims.

    “There is a serious legal issue and we think the legal service is obliged to invite him to support his charges or withdraw them,” Kannaouros said.

    He added: “In this way the shadow would be removed.”

    Kannaouros said he would also write to the bishop himself to ask him to substantiate his allegations, adding that methods, which hurt and undermine the work of journalists should not be used.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [06] Bush puts American weight behind Annan plan

    By a Staff Reporter

    U.S. PRESIDENT George Bush believes that a political settlement in Cyprus should be based on the Annan plan, which he described as “fair and balanced”.

    The US President also welcomed the partial lifting of restrictions on free movement to and from the north, which began three weeks ago. Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has called on Turkey to put its weight behind a settlement of the Cyprus question. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had spoken on the phone on Wednesday.

    “Both leaders welcomed unprecedented freedom of movement between the Turkish and Greek sectors of Cyprus in recent weeks, and noted their hope for a lasting Cyprus settlement. President Bush reiterated the United States’ support for a Cyprus settlement based on UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan’s fair and balanced plan,” the spokesman said.

    In her remarks to the press, Rice speaking on US-Turkish relations, said “we obviously have interest in dealing with the Cyprus problem. We had made some progress on Cyprus.”

    “The UN Secretary-general has made heroic efforts to try and resolve that, and we would hope that Turkey would put its weight behind a settlement of the Cyprus issue,” she added.

    She acknowledged that the US and Turkey went through “some difficult periods of time, but this is a strong relationship, it’s going to remain a strong relationship.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [07] Government slams ‘fanatical’ Denktash views

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday accused Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of repeating himself and said his statements in recent days had been “fanatical”.

    Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides was commenting on statements by Denktash that by allowing people to cross, the Turkish Cypriot side had taken the first step towards the result, “which they have been dreaming of for years”. This result was something that a peace-loving people wanted to reach by protecting its rights, he said.

    Denktash made the comment to a mainland Turkish television station. Chrysostomides said Denktash’s views were “unacceptable, fanatical and monolithic” and that the Turkish Cypriot leader had been repeating himself for decades.

    Denktash also told the television station that he was hopeful for developments. “Those who overturn this proposal, will prove to the whole world that they don’t want peace on Cyprus,” he said.

    He also said Greek Cypriots crossing to the north were able to see that Turkish Cypriots were not oppressed and that the situation that had developed was “the model for the future”.

    “Exchange of property will be overcome with compensations and border adjustments will be made,” he said. “If there is willingness in the Greek Cypriot side, the problem will be solved together. However, we will not give up our state, sovereignty, equality and guarantee of Turkey.”

    Denktash has repeatedly said that Greek Cypriots should pursue their property claims through the courts in the north, something the government finds unacceptable.

    Chyrsostomides yesterday called it a “trick” by Denktash and another avenue for the Turkish Cypriot side to push for recognition. “Courts in the north that will examine Greek Cypriot applications have no standing in international law,” he said, adding that it would be completely illegal and unreasonable for the European Court of Human Rights or the Council of Europe to accept such applications as legal under provisions requiring applicants in a dispute to exhaust all internal means before resorting to Europe.

    “This has been studied by the Republic and legal experts and it would be completely unjustifiable,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [08] CY confirms deal with US leasing company

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) yesterday confirmed that it had reached an agreement with an American leasing company for the sale of its old Airbus A310s.

    The deal will be ratified by the airline’s board on Monday.

    The national carrier had been in dispute with American company ILFC over the sale of the four A310s, and senior CY officials had to travel to Los Angeles to thrash out a new deal or lose the sale altogether, which would have cost the company over $50 million.

    Yesterday was the deadline for delivery of the first four overhauled aircraft, after which ILFC had the right to refuse to take any of the planes.

    “We officially concluded an agreement with ILFC,” said CY spokesman Tassos Angelis. “They decided to give us some new delivery dates,” he added.

    Angelis declined to give any detailed comments on the adverse financial implications of the new deal. “It has been settled… at a cost,” he said.

    The Cyprus Mail learned on Tuesday that CY had been forced to agree to shell out another $3 million to overhaul the planes on top of the $7.5 million it has already spent, and to give ILFC $2 million in compensation for failure to deliver on time. CY was clocking up penalties of $7,500 per day per plane for its failure to deliver.

    The total of $12.5 million will be deducted from the original agreed sale price of $43.5 million, leaving CY with only $31 million, a mere $7.7 million per plane.

    Senior CY officials and legal advisers travelled to Los Angeles on Sunday to discuss the crisis and only managed to reach agreement late on Tuesday. Failure to agree would have put the company is serious financial difficulties since it also has an agreement worth $65 million with ILFC for six new aircraft, which have already been delivered. CY hoped to offset this cost against the sale of the A310s, but are now $12.5 million out of pocket.

    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

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [09] Rally gets last-minute reprieve

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE CYPRUS Rally has almost certainly been rescued for at least a year after the plenum last night amended a law to exclude non-Cypriot teams from a tobacco advertising ban on their cars.

    There were fears the Cyprus Rally was in danger of being axed by the FIA due to House plans to enforce an EU ban on tobacco advertising. The loss of the event would cost the economy an estimated £12 million.

    An EU Directive requires a ban on tobacco advertising in all member states. It was implemented in July 2001 with an extension to October 2006 for sponsorship of world level events such as Formula One.

    And with the axing of Formula 1 circuits enforcing the ban, such as Spa Francorchamps in Belgium by Bernie Ecclestone, fears were raised that the WRC Cyprus Rally would follow suit to make way for other events where tobacco advertising would be allowed.

    Deputies Zacharias Koulias and Marinos Sizopoulos maintained that allowing tobacco advertising on foreign teams the island’s economy would receive a financial and political boost, as well as a rise in tourism.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [10] Refinery manager accused of withholding information in deal with Iranian company

    By Alex Mita

    THE CYPRUS Petroleum Refinery’s (CPRL) General Manager, George Lambrou, has been accused of withholding information that would have affected a board decision to award a multi-million upgrading project to an Iranian company.

    According to reports in the press, the allegations against Lambrou were brought up during a House Watchdog Committee meeting on Wednesday, at which the issue of upgrading the CPRL to produce sulphur free products to meet with EU standards was discussed.

    The decision to award the 45 million euro project was awarded to Iranian company Sazeh in February, but CPRL board member George Koukounis claimed Lambrou allegedly withheld a letter from the refinery’s technical advisor, Shell Global Solutions, which apparently urged the CPRL board not to award the project to Sazeh and questioned the financial status of the company.

    Kokounis is also said to have accused Lambrou of going ahead with a £5 million loan from the Arab Bank in February 2003 without the approval of the board of directors and of forcing the board to go ahead with awarding the project to Sazeh a day before the elections by saying it was a matter of urgency.

    Lambrou was yesterday unavailable for comment, but reports said he maintained that Shell’s objections to Sazeh were known by members of the board, adding that the decision to award the project to the company had been taken on December 19, 2002 and therefore showing the letter would not have had an effect on the decision.

    Lambrou said that Shell’s stance towards Sazeh was down to politics, since the American company was not keen on CPRL’s co-operation with an Iranian company.

    However, there is confusion on whether the government will go ahead with upgrading the refinery, as the Commerce Ministry’s stance on the issue still remains a mystery.

    Sources told the Cyprus Mail the first phase of the project had begun, despite a government decision to withdraw its guarantees for a 55 million euro loan, saying the loan conditions were unfavourable.

    The refinery was expected to be upgraded before the island accedes to the EU in May next year in order to continue production until 2010 when it will be dismantled and sold for scrap.

    But no plans have been announced by the government to meet the EU deadline by going ahead with the upgrade or not, leading to speculation that the refinery will not be allowed to produce fuel without an extension from the EU, since it would not be producing EU standards fuel.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    [11] Possible SARS patient in Limassol hospital

    By Alex Mita

    DOCTORS AT the Limassol hospital were last night trying to determine whether symptoms shown by an 80-year-old man were those of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

    The 80-year-old, who arrived in Cyprus from Singapore on May 5, had in the past three days shown high fever and severe coughing and was rushed to hospital by his son yesterday afternoon on doctor’s orders.

    He was immediately admitted to a specially adapted ward and doctors said all the necessary scientific examinations are being carried out to determine whether or not this is the island’s first ever SARS sufferer.

    “The man was brought here for observation,” a hospital spokesman said.

    “It might have been better if he was brought to the hospital with an ambulance instead of his son, but as soon as he was admitted all the necessary safety measures were taken.”

    Hospital staff wearing special protective suits led the patient to a special ward designed to deal with SARS victims.

    Doctors said the man had been administered with preventative medication and the measures would continue until test results are ready.

    “People should not panic, this does not necessarily mean that the man is suffering from SARS and it’s not just a heavy cold,” the spokesman said.

    “If it is confirmed that the man is suffering from SARS then that would be very worrying but all those who came in contact with the patient will be quarantined.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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