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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-06-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, June 10, 2003


  • [01] Government says CY facing serious trouble
  • [02] Man held for spate of icon thefts
  • [03] DIKO: the new socialists?
  • [04] Medical Association to investigate charges against outspoken doctor
  • [05] Government opens database to relatives of Turkish Cypriot missing
  • [06] High house prices deterring buyers in old Nicosia
  • [07] Petrol stations threaten to go on strike
  • [08] Polluter pays: road tax reform to penalise bigger engines
  • [09] Most Greek Cypriots who cross north are refugees
  • [10] Greek and Turkish Cypriot held after Paphos bakery raid

  • [01] Government says CY facing serious trouble

    By a Staff Reporter

    CYPRUS Airways has suffered considerable financial damage following the ending of state funding, and faces further loss of income from lucrative airport Duty Free shops once a new airport structure is implemented, Finance Minister Marcos Kyprianou said yesterday, following a House Finance Committee meeting.

    Kyprianou told reporters that, “Cyprus Airways has suffered great damage,” when asked to comment on claims in Haravghi that the company had suffered “astronomical damage”.

    He said the situation had reached this stage because “there is no possibility of state intervention due to European Union rules… there can no longer be protectionism as there was in the past, and income losses from duty free goods can be expected in the future due to the implementation of the new airport management structure”.

    He warned that unless measures were taken to improve the fortunes of the company, it would face serious trouble and the state would be unable to help, even if it wanted to.

    Kyprianou was unwilling to comment further since the company is holding its Annual General Meeting tomorrow, when the board of directors will discuss the company’s finances.

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday that President Tassos Papadopoulos would announce the new board of directors immediately after the company’s AGM. The private shareholders will be elected onto the board and other members will be government appointed, he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [02] Man held for spate of icon thefts

    By a Staff Reporter

    A LARNACA court yesterday remanded a 57-year-old man in custody for eight days on suspicion of stealing and selling church icons.

    Police sergeant Costas Michael said Kofinou police station was investigating Argyro Demetriou from Paliometocho in Nicosia on suspicion of breaking into churches, stealing icons and illegal possession of church icons during the period May 30 to June 8.

    According to police, an icon worth £150 was recently stolen from Ayia Paraskevi chapel in Choirokoitia. On June 4, the suspect allegedly tried to sell the icon to car salesman Costakis Nicolaou in Larnaca for £20. Nicolaou, suspecting something was wrong, bought the icon and took it to Kiti Archbishopric, where it was determined to be the stolen icon. On June 8, Demetriou showed up at Kofinou police station for an unrelated matter and was arrested in connection with the icon theft.

    During his interrogation he allegedly took police officers out to his car and showed them another 18 icons he had stashed away. The court heard he was unable to give a coherent answer as to where they had come from and police plan to ask church experts and priests for help.

    The court also heard Demetriou had been separated from his wife for 15 days and had been involved in similar offences in the past. He also has psychological problems and was an alcoholic with no permanent address, sleeping in his car the past fortnight, the court was told.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [03] DIKO: the new socialists?

    By a Staff Reporter

    FOLLOWING a two-day convention, ruling DIKO has announced it would be turning toward socialist ideologies, in a move that could change the power balance on the domestic political scene.

    The two-day-long convention of the party’s central committee said it was formulating an “action plan” for the future, involving reorganising of the party apparatus and appealing to wider sections of society. Spokesman Andreas Constantinou said DIKO intended to model itself on European Social- Democrat parties and was planning to become a member of Europe’s Socialist Party.

    DIKO’s nationwide conference on 22 November will ratify (or not) the proposed action plan.

    But the announcement inevitably raised the issue of whether two socialist parties in a small country like Cyprus would be overkill. And pundits speculated as to how socialist KISOS would react.

    Officials from both parties were quick to point out there was will for political co-operation and alliance, although they did not elaborate. KISOS boss Yiannakis Omirou said “it would be only natural to expect some contact with us”.

    Opinion polls before the last elections showed that KISOS’ ratings had dropped significantly.

    DIKO’s apparent shift in the political spectrum has raised a few eyebrows; the party has been traditionally considered centrist or centre-right. It has been invariably allied to communist AKEL or right-wing DISY in government since neither of the two major parties can win the elections on their own. For years now, DIKO’s role is regarded as the deciding factor in tipping the scales in favor of AKEL or DISY.

    Popular support for DIKO plummeted after the party was ousted from government in 1988, after two successive terms under the late Spyros Kyprianou.

    In the last elections, DIKO, AKEL and socialist KISOS formed an alliance to elect Tassos Papadopoulos to the presidency.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [04] Medical Association to investigate charges against outspoken doctor

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE MEDICAL ethics committee is to launch an investigation into an orthopaedic specialist following charges made by the government doctors’ union that he had violated the medical code of ethics, Pancyprian Medical Association president, Dr Antonis Vassiliou confirmed yesterday.

    The story began several months ago, when the Health Ministry failed to renew private microsurgeon Alkis Alkiviades’ contract at the Makarios Hospital in Nicosia, where he had leased his services for nearly seven years.

    The ministry’s medical services said they had found a permanent replacement for Alkiviades and there was therefore no need to renew his contract.

    But Alkiviades told a different story. He claimed colleagues’ jealousy and resentment of his high fees had led to his dismissal and accused the press of conducting a smear campaign against him.

    But what most upset the medical association were recent claims by Alkiviades that the resentment had reached such heights that some patients were forced to have their limbs amputated because colleagues had delayed calling him in for consultation.

    Government doctor’s union (PASYKI) president Dr Stavros Stavrou yesterday slammed the charges, saying Alkiviades should have provided corroborating evidence before making public accusations.

    “It’s not a matter about what Alkiviades said being right or wrong. Without any proof, his behaviour has been medically unethical,” he said. “His statements have risked shaking the public’s trust in the state health system and it was wrong and inexcusable of him to do so.”

    Alkiviades told the Cyprus Mail that for the first four and a half years he had worked for £8.35 an hour. This then changed to a fee per patient, despite his warnings that this method of payment would prove more costly to the government. “They ended up resenting paying me so much and so stopped referring patients to me,” he claimed.

    Indeed, Stavrou said that from March 2001 to December 2002 Alkiviades had received total fees of £390,000 from the state.

    He added the union had examined Alkiviades’ statements and believed they were “examples of inexcusable self-promotion” and medically unethical.

    “We asked the Medical Association to investigate whether he has violated the medical code of ethics,” said Stavrou. “We believe he has because his statements were unfounded and very general and we want the government doctors’ names cleared.”

    The Medical Association confirmed it had received the charges and had launched an investigation.

    “We received a complaint in writing, which has been passed on to the medical ethics committee for investigation,” said Vassiliou. “Once it completes its investigations, we will review the report and decide how to act from there.”

    Stavrou said the substance of the allegations was an issue for the Health Ministry. “It’s not up to us to launch an investigation into his claims. That’s up to the Ministry, or for patients to file complaints. We’re just saying he never should have made his statements public,” said Stavrou.

    No one at the Health Ministry was yesterday unavailable for comment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [05] Government opens database to relatives of Turkish Cypriot missing

    By a Staff Reporter

    FOLLOWING a Cabinet decision taken in April, relatives of Turkish Cypriot missing persons can now have access to the government’s database.

    An announcement yesterday said that relatives of Turkish Cypriot missing persons could arrange for an appointment with the Office of the Greek Cypriot Representative on the Committee of Missing Persons. The contact numbers are 22-305794 and 22-305795.

    Turkish Cypriot relatives making enquiries can assist the government in determining the fate of the missing by providing ante-mortem information as well as blood samples to be fed into a DNA database.

    Details and information on the 201 of the 500 cases of missing Turkish Cypriots have already been given as part of the implementation of a July 1997 agreement.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [06] High house prices deterring buyers in old Nicosia

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE MAIN reason houses in the old part of Nicosia are either uninhabited or left to collapse is because they are too highly priced, said Nicosia’s municipal engineer, Faidon Nicolaou, yesterday.

    The fact that Nicosia remains a divided capital combined with the inflated prices asked for old listed house does little to attract house buyers to the old town, he maintained.

    The dilapidated state of the old town came into the spotlight after a listed house in old Nicosia collapsed last Friday. “The municipality declared the house dangerous in 2001 and asked the owner to make the necessary repairs. When he failed to do so we made an invitation for the offer of tenders and had the house temporarily repaired,” said Nicolaou.

    The owner had told the Cyprus Mail that he wanted to repair the house but could not get rid of the sitting tenant, a carpenter who worked in the house. He argued that the municipality’s contractor did a botched job of the repairs and then overcharged him.

    Nicolaou responded by saying that the owner did not have to wait for the tenant to leave before repairing the house, adding that the repairs were meant to be temporary not permanent. He attributed the sudden collapse of the house to heavy rainfall and its already damp condition.

    There appears to be a trend amongst owners to leave listed houses alone until they collapse rather than invest huge sums of money to renovate them.

    “It is a fact that old Nicosia has been abandoned. Many buildings have the same problem like the one that collapsed last week,” Nicolaou admitted. But the municipal engineer refused to accept that the problem was the municipality’s reluctance to lift the moratorium on entertainment spots and eateries.

    “Old Nicosia is full of night spots and restaurants. We have enough seedy joints around that don’t help the image of the old town. The place needs rejuvenation of the residential areas. The people to move back to the old town,” he said.

    Nicolaou argued that there were plenty of incentives to fix up old houses. “The money you spend on renovation is tax-free. You can get grants of up to £40,000. It’s not financial reasons that are stunting revitalisation, it’s the fact that the city is still divided, causing most to abandon the centre, plus the very expensive price of listed houses.”

    The municipality has recently been working on rejuvenating parts of the old town near the mosque by paving its square with cobbled stone and renovating the Turkish Baths. However, revival seems to going at a snail’s pace with large swathes of the town within the walls still rundown, uninhabited and falling.

    But Nicolaou was certain about what was needed: “The old town does not need more entertainment centres; that’s not the solution. The people should return to the city.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [07] Petrol stations threaten to go on strike

    By a Staff Reporter

    PETROL stations are threatening to take any measures necessary, including strikes, if a six-month dispute with oil companies is not resolved within the next 10 days.

    The President of the National Association of Petrol Stations, Pambinos Charalambous, said yesterday that owners were losing £22,000 a year and could not afford to wait any longer.

    According to Charalambous, the dispute began last year when the collective agreement between petrol stations and oil companies expired. The association has since called for renewal of the agreement, demanding a further £20,000 from oil companies to cover the average station’s costs.

    “Currently, our expenses are £82,000 a year while our average annual income is £60,000. On average, we are losing £22,000 a year. As a result, we are asking for at least £20,000 each for middle station expenses,” said Charalambous.

    The dispute appears to focus on the accuracy of the petrol stations’ expenditure calculations. “We have conducted a study on the number of employees working at stations and sent it to the Commerce Minister. The oil companies, up to now, thought that we had less employees and therefore less costs,” said Charalambous.

    “We have asked the minister to mediate on the issue and will wait until June 19 before deciding what to do. The association had a General Meeting on Sunday which gave the green light to take any measures necessary, including strikes, if the problem was not solved by then,” he warned.

    Charalambous said who would pay the extra cost was a matter for the government and the oil companies. “There is a system whereby oil companies get a government return of expenses that are over and above the commission of oil, provided they are deemed logical.

    “If we get no reply within 10 days, we cannot afford to wait any longer,” added Charalambous.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [08] Polluter pays: road tax reform to penalise bigger engines

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE Cabinet is this week set to approve a bill amending road tax fees according to engine-capacity criteria, in a bid to increase government revenue and also plug some loopholes in the existing legislation.

    The new legislation will come into force next year; under the new scheme, road tax fees will be based on engine capacity and not on weight, as is the case today.

    For years, Road Transport Department staff have had their work cut out spotting cheaters -- drivers who think up all sorts of resourceful ways of shedding kilograms from their cars when they are weighed. Removing a/c units and even keeping gas tanks empty are some of the favorite methods used by those trying to beat the system.

    As a result, sources estimate the government loses hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. This is major revenue leakage, especially bearing in mind the current poor state of public finances.

    There are an estimated 450,000 privately-owned cars in circulation, suggesting the transition to the new scheme will not be easy; but the Road Transport Department’s files are on computer.

    The bill is aimed at introducing a fairer system; the more pollution your car is responsible for, the higher the road tax you pay. That’s the first incentive for people to buy low-pollution vehicles.

    As things stand, owners of 1.3 litre cars pay an annual road tax of £54; the same rate is paid for cars up to 2.0 litres. Under the new system, the former will pay exactly half of what they do now, and the latter a little more than double (£120).

    Reports say other incentives are planned to encourage purchase of low- pollution cars, for example a scheme reducing tax duties; car prices in Cyprus are seen as excessively high, due to high import taxes.

    And drivers who can produce “low-emission certificates” for their cars will be eligible for up to 15 per cent discount in road tax.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [09] Most Greek Cypriots who cross north are refugees

    By a Staff Reporter

    AROUND 52 per cent of Turkish Cypriots have crossed the Green Line since it was opened on April 23, compared to 39 per cent of Greek Cypriots, a survey has found.

    The survey, published by Politis yesterday, found that the overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots went to the occupied north to see their homes or other properties or to go on a pilgrimage to churches.

    Out of the 39 per cent of Greek Cypriots who had visited the north, 70 per cent were refugees, Politis said.

    Just one per cent of those surveyed said they went for pleasure, while 19 per cent said they would not be going again.

    Fifty-two per cent of Turkish Cypriots have come in the opposite direction, with the majority of those also saying they wanted to visit their homes and properties.

    The daily suggested the number could actually mean that virtually the whole Turkish Cypriot population had crossed, since the rest of the population are settlers from mainland Turkey who are banned from entering the government-controlled areas.

    Two-thirds of Turkish Cypriots said they visited their homes, while the rest said they made the trip for pleasure.

    Twelve per cent said they also applied for a Republic of Cyprus identity card and three per cent came to find work.

    Of those seeking an identity card, 23 per cent said they wanted it so that they would able to emigrate and 25 per cent so that they could get a job in the government-controlled areas.

    Of the 61 per cent of Greek Cypriots who have not yet crossed the divide, 19 per cent said they would go at some stage while the rest said they were not going to go under the current circumstances.

    The people refusing to go are mostly not refugees, and most cite their refusal to show a passport and fear of recognising the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state as th emain reason for not crossing.

    The majority of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots said they were met by friendly faces during their trips.

    Eighty-three per cent of Greek Cypriots said they were treated well in the north, and only three per cent said they experienced hostility.

    Sixty per cent of Turkish Cypriots said they saw friendly faces, six per cent said they were met with hostility and 23 per cent found neither.

    The survey was carried out between June 2 and 6 by Amer Nielsen in the government-controlled areas and Kadem in the north.

    The sample was of 600 people in the north and 700 in the south. They were interviewed by telephone.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    [10] Greek and Turkish Cypriot held after Paphos bakery raid

    By a Staff Reporter

    TWO MEN, a 39-year-old Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, 42, have been detained in connection with the attempted armed robbery of a bakery in Limassol.

    Marios Panayiotides and Hilmit Turguy were arrested following a botched attempt to rob a bakery at knifepoint.

    Police said the two suspects had parked their car outside the Zorbas bakery on Paphos Street shortly after midnight on Sunday.

    Turguy allegedly entered the bakery and asked one of the two women employees for help.

    She moved away from the counter to get his order when he allegedly pulled out a knife, demanding the money from the second employee.

    She began crying for help, attracting her colleague and a young customer who rushed to her rescue.

    After a brief fight, Turguy managed to get away from the two and got into the car where Panayiotides was waiting.

    But their number plates had been recorded and police soon tracked down Panayiotides, who claimed he had only met Turguy three days before and had no idea of his intentions.

    Turguy, a permanent resident of Holland, was picked up shortly afterwards.

    He claimed the fight broke out after he asked for a sandwich without pork, which the bakery did not have.

    The two were remanded in custody for eight days.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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