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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-05-24

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

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


Saturday, May 24, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] CY strike called off
  • [02] Too many EU meetings for Cyprus to attend
  • [03] Police on the lookout for club-wielding burglars
  • [04] Four in hospital after fights
  • [05] Refugees’ fury as bulldozers move in to tear down shacks
  • [06] Police on high alert over terror reports
  • [07] Erdogan set to allow Greek Cypriot ships to Turkey

  • [01] CY strike called off

    By Sofia Kannas

    UNIONS last night called off a Cyprus Airways strike set for Monday after the intervention of Communications Minister Kikis Kazamias.

    Kazamias stepped in just as the national carrier was preparing to reschedule 22 of the 28 affected flights and inform passengers that six flights were to be cancelled as a result of the threatened industrial action.

    The strike, which would have affected a total of 3,453 passengers, was set to ground planes at Larnaca and Paphos airports for six hours on Monday, after airline staff rebelled against the failure to renew their collective agreement. A deadlock was reached in Thursday’s meeting between the airline’s Board of Directors and representatives from the four Cyprus Airways Employees’ Unions, leading to calls for industrial action by the unions.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail after the cancellation of the strike measures, Cyprus Airways spokesman Tassos Angelis said the unions’ demands would now be considered by the new Board of Directors.

    “When the new Board of Directors is appointed in June, this new Board will consider the demands of the unions for the renewal of the collective agreement. And in one month’s time we will submit the position of the company so as to start negotiating that renewal.”

    The demands include a 10.5 per cent pay rise and extending the retirement age from 60 to 63.

    President of SYNIKA union Costas Demetriou confirmed that negotiations were expected to begin early next month. “We had some commitment from the government that we are going to embark on substantial negotiations in order to renew the collective agreement,” he said. “We also drew up a timeframe within which the company must give us their proposals, against our proposals.”

    Earlier, Angelis had called on the unions to show greater responsibility at a “vulnerable time for the airline” and expressed the company’s readiness to resume negotiations.

    “No one is disputing the sacred right of workers to have a collective agreement,” he said. “If they (the unions) insist (on striking) then there is a massive amount of damage done to the company, to tourism and to Cyprus’ image as a tourist destination, at a time when we should all be working to avoid this.”

    The new Board is set to be announced on June 11.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, May 24, 2003

    [02] Too many EU meetings for Cyprus to attend

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday it would have to rationalise its delegations to EU meetings, saying there were simply too many for a small country like Cyprus to attend.

    The island’s participation in European Union meetings would be based on finances and the rational organisation of the civil service, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday.

    Chrysostomides was referring to a report in Politis, which slammed President Tassos Papadopoulos for apparently suggesting during a Cabinet meeting that deputies should only attend 10 per cent of all EU meetings. The paper said it had seen the Cabinet’s April 3 minutes and that Papadopoulos had said Cyprus’ goal was to attend “a tenth of all meetings”. Chrysostomides would not confirm the accuracy of the report and said the Cabinet’s minutes were classified.

    According to Politis, the President had said Cyprus was a small country and it would not be possible for it to be represented at all committees or to take part in all their meetings, given that there were around 3,000 meetings annually. “Therefore our participation needs to be selective. Cyprus’ goal is to take part in a tenth of all such meetings. For the remainder, arrangements should be made with Greece (according to the Luxemburg prototype that has a similar arrangement with Belgium and the Netherlands) for an institutional update from Greek representatives. This will be done unofficially so that it doesn’t appear there is an ‘Greece/Cyprus axis’ in the European Union,” Papadopoulos was quoted as saying.

    Chrysostomides said yesterday that Papadopoulos had not told the Cabinet anything about participation in EU meetings, and noted that the island had to take an active part in such organs, as it could not be absent.

    “The matter is not only financial, but it also an attempt rationally to limit trips and concerns the presence of senior officials,” he said, adding that there were occasions when Permanent Secretaries were abroad 17 days a month.

    “It is a matter of rationally organising the Civil Service and Ministers’ time, as well as the importance or not of contributing in European or other meetings,” Chrysostomides said.

    Finance Minister Marcos Kyprianou said Cyprus was too small for an official to spend three days abroad for a two to three-hour meeting in Brussels. Therefore “it is logical that there have to be choices,” but only for “technical committees and not councils, where political decisions are made”.

    “There are around 3,000 meetings a year,” said Kyprianou, pointing out Cyprus could not take part in all of them. “There will have to be choices, where we are represented in areas where it is necessary, not just useful,” he said.

    At the moment, no decisions have been made and the various Ministries are studying what committees the island should attend. Suggestions will then be put to the Cabinet for approval, said Kyprianou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, May 24, 2003

    [03] Police on the lookout for club-wielding burglars

    By a Staff Reporter

    LIMASSOL police were yesterday looking into a claim by six Bagladeshi students that they had been robbed and beaten by two individuals armed with a club and posing as police officers.

    Police said the students claimed the two men broke into their Amathus flat and herded them into the living room.

    The perpetrators claimed they were police officers and asked the students to show them their passports.

    The assailants clubbed one man on the head, while a second one, fearing he would be beaten too, jumped out of the window, injuring himself in the process.

    According to the report, the two men then searched the students and stole £250.

    They then bundled one student into their white van and took him to about two kilometres before releasing him.

    The students notified the police and an ambulance, which carried the two injured men to hospital.

    Doctors said one had suffered head injuries while the one who had jumped out of the window had fractured his heels.

    The assailants were described as aged between 25 and 30, of medium build and white complexion.

    They were around 1.75 to 1.80 metres tall with black hair and spoke broken Greek and English, police said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, May 24, 2003

    [04] Four in hospital after fights

    By a Staff Reporter

    NICOSIA police were yesterday looking into two separate brawls resulting in four people being taken to hospital with actual bodily harm.

    The first fight involved three youths aged between 21 and 23, who were allegedly beaten up by four unknown individuals outside a kiosk.

    Police said the three were allegedly attacked at around 10.15pm on Thursday while outside a kiosk at Pera Horio near Nicosia.

    Two were rushed to hospital in an ambulance and were kept for treatment, one suffering from an unspecified fracture wound and the other with spine injuries.

    The third youth was treated in hospital after reporting the incident to police. He was subsequently released.

    In the second incident, police said they had to intervene to break up a fight between a 37-year-old foreigner and a local man aged 43.

    Police said the incident happened at around 11.30pm on Thursday.

    The two men exchanged blows due to a misunderstanding, with the 37-year-old kept in hospital after complaining of feeling dizzy.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, May 24, 2003

    [05] Refugees’ fury as bulldozers move in to tear down shacks

    By Alex Mita

    NICOSIA Municipality bulldozers yesterday set about tearing down shacks built by Greek Cypriot refugees on Turkish Cypriot property in order to break ground for a new park and athletic centre.

    The move sparked fury among the refugees, who claimed the municipality had not notified them it would be tearing down the shacks and blasted the authorities for not taking safety precautions when removing asbestos sheeting and for not disconnecting the electricity before tearing the shacks down.

    “They came down here with their bulldozers without warning and they tore down my small shack that I was using as a storage room,” one woman told the Cyprus Mail.

    “They never sent us a letter to let me know that the shack was going to be torn down, they only told me in person two days ago. First, they said they wouldn’t tear the shack down and then they did.

    The woman was furious that the government was treating refugees in this way when their properties in the north were occupied.

    “So what if we have the shacks built on Turkish Cypriot property?” she asked.

    “What about our property in the north? Aren’t the Turks living in our homes and aren’t they using our land? They tore my house down in the north to build a housing complex. We built our shacks here in 1974 when we had to leave and the government could not give us a house.

    “And they did it without taking any precautions. All the shacks had asbestos roofing and they didn’t even bother disconnecting the electricity, they just tore the shacks down without any safety precautions. I thought the government had to be extra careful when removing asbestos roofing,” she said.

    But a source told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the shacks were illegally built, since the owners did not own the land and they didn’t have permits. The source also rubbished the woman’s claims about precautions.

    “This is Turkish Cypriot property and it does not belong to them, it belongs to Turkish Cypriots and the government is the administrator,” the source said.

    “The municipality has rented the land here from the government for 99 years, and it has sent a letter to all those who had built their shacks here warning them that they would be torn down.”

    The source said the owners were told the shacks would not be torn down if they were inhabited, but they went ahead with the demolition when they found out nobody lived in them after all.

    “Yes, we did tell them the shacks wouldn’t be torn down if someone was living in them but we found out in the end that no one was living in them,” the source said.

    “We’ve been waiting for these people to move their things for two years now but nothing has been done. We have a legal right to use this land and we will do so. Shouting and swearing at the bulldozer driver who is only doing his job doesn’t really help.”

    The source said the owners’ reaction on Thursday when the bulldozers started tearing down the shacks was not helpful to their cause.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, May 24, 2003

    [06] Police on high alert over terror reports

    By Alex Mita

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday the police had taken all the necessary measures in order to prevent any terrorist strike on the island.

    Chrysostomides’ comments came after reports on Thursday that six Arab terrorists had come to Cyprus by sea on a mission to attack British or American targets.

    “We always receive information about possible terrorist attacks and the police has now received more information after the terrorist attacks in Morocco and Saudi Arabia,” Chrysostomides said.

    “All the necessary measures are being implemented by the police to prevent any possible terrorist act.”

    Weekly Kypros Simera reported yesterday that the CIA, MI5 and Mossad were on a state of “secret high alert” after al Qaeda suicide bombers had landed in the Akamas from Lebanon.

    The paper claimed the secret service had received over 20 alert signals from European countries warning them of a series of strikes in Cyprus and Greece.

    “A secret service official said Akamas’ deserted beaches were an easy way in for terrorists and illegal immigrants,” the paper reported.

    According to the paper, sources from western intelligence agencies said indications showed the terrorists were already on the island and their most likely target was the British bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. They did not rule out the possibility of the American radio station in Makedonitissa in Nicosia also being a target.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, May 24, 2003

    [07] Erdogan set to allow Greek Cypriot ships to Turkey

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH PRIME Minister Tayyip Erdogan plans to announce Greek Cypriot ships will be allowed free entrance into Turkish ports, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported yesterday.

    The move is designed to show Brussels the Turkish government is determined to take certain initiatives in solving the Cyprus problem, which is one of Turkey’s main obstacles in its EU accession course, said CNA.

    According to the news agency, this new development will then be succeeded by free trade between Turkey and Greek Cypriots; only weeks after the Turkish Cypriot regime lifted the 29-year ban on Greek Cypriots crossing over to the occupied areas and a day after they were allowed to visit mainland Turkey.

    Meanwhile, it is believed a large chain of Greek Cypriot hotels is prepared to expand to Turkey, while Ankara is working on a new flexible policy with regards to the Cyprus problem. CNA’s sources said Erdogan is determined to restart negotiating the UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan plan, despite Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s earlier statements that the Annan plan was aimed at legalising the “illegal Greek Cypriot EU application” and that Cyprus accession had “more of a political aim, rather than a financial one, and wanted to topple the Greco Turkish balance in Cyprus”.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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