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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-06-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, June 13, 2003


  • [01] Match day behind bars for hooligans?
  • [02] President blasts opposition ‘cleanout’ claim
  • [03] Denktash: Hannay behaving like a ‘snobbish colonial governor’
  • [04] Laiki shrugs off Moody’s review
  • [05] Inmates costing £36 each a day in overcrowded prison
  • [06] Settlers want the Annan plan and a solution

  • [01] Match day behind bars for hooligans?

    By Alex Mita

    FOOTBALL hooligans could find themselves spending match days in detention at their nearest police station, according to Justice Ministry Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Savvides said the government was trying to find ways to clamp down on hooliganism by singling out troublemakers and detaining them over football weekends.

    Savvides said the government was considering adopting a system used in Australia where known culprits are banned from stadiums and forced to stay under police supervision for up to two days while their teams play. If the hooligans fail to report to police, they could face immediate imprisonment.

    “The Minister has a copy of a law used by another country to combat hooliganism and we are trying to see whether that legislation could be implemented,” Savvides said.

    “The offenders could spend weekends in detention centres or even the central prison. It all depends, we first have to complete our discussions on the issue, but the Minister has ordered that something be done as soon as possible.”

    The Anorthosis Supporters’ Association yesterday welcomed the move, saying any measures taken by the government to clamp down on football violence would help the sport.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Gregoris Hadjimichalakis said the government was doing the right thing.

    “We applaud their intentions and their efforts to clamp down on hooliganism, as long as the system treats fans fairly,” he said.

    “As long as those banned from the stadium are hooligans and not just ordinary fans, we are more than happy.”

    Savvides said the ministry was also considering sentencing offenders to community service. A law passed in 1996 gives courts the right to sentence young offenders to community service. The law is aimed at stopping young hooligans from being jailed together with hardened criminals in the central prisons.

    The law was never put into effect due to the lack of supervising officials who would be making sure the offenders carried out their sentence.

    But reports said the Cabinet has decided to appoint four officials to carry out the role of supervising those sentenced to carry out community service in a municipality or hospital.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, June 13, 2003

    [02] President blasts opposition ‘cleanout’ claim

    By George Psyllides

    PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday rubbished opposition accusations about a ‘cleanout’ of DISY supporters from the Presidential Palace and other organisations.

    The issue is one of several current points of friction between the government and opposition DISY, whose chief Nicos Anastassiades accused the government of getting rid of all opposition supporters, starting from the Presidential Palace.

    The spat kicked off after Anastassiades suggested the representation on the boards of the semi-governmental organisations should be according to the parties’ electoral strength.

    Yesterday, Papadopoulos rejected Anastassiades’ charges, adding that only a warehouse worker had been moved because of service needs.

    “The answer is given by the facts; I found out today that from the day I moved to the Presidential Palace, one warehouse worker had been moved due to service needs.

    “He belonged to the alternating staff; no one else has gone,” Papadopoulos said.

    He said that the principle in place for years was for the President’s aides to be hired on a contract, adding that he was allowed to hire staff or services of up to £100,000.

    Upon assuming his duties Papadopoulos said he brought with him five people whose services cost £107,000, which were included in the supplementary budget.

    The President said the organisational structure of the Palace was wrong, arguing that there should have been advisers for various issues like the economy, home affairs and the environment.

    Concerning Anastassiades’ suggestion for a proportional handout of office, Papadopoulos said it could not be applied because many able people were not affiliated to any parties.

    “What about the majority of citizens who do not belong to any party?” the President asked.

    Papadopoulos wrote a letter to Anastassiades explaining his reasons for rejecting his proposal.

    The letter was made public yesterday, and the DISY chief said he would have his reply ready at some time after the weekend.

    On Thursday, Anastassiades accused the President of attacking DISY without paying attention to many facts he should have known.

    “It is inconceivable to speak of nepotism or that the rules of meritocracy would be followed when starting from the Presidential Palace there is no employee affiliated to DISY.

    “We are now talking about a cleanup, not only at the Presidential Palace, but everywhere,” Anastassiades said.

    In his letter, Papadopoulos pointed out that the real picture on the boards of semi-governmental organisations was far from Anastassiades’ demand to apply proportional representation: “Of the total board membership, 76 per cent come from DISY, 11.6 per cent from DIKO, 7.6 per cent from AKEL, and almost four per cent from KISOS.”

    Papadopoulos further argued that the proportionality criterion was not included in DISY’s political vocabulary and that the representation of the opposition on the boards during Glafcos Clerides’ term was minuscule.

    Defence Minister Koullis Mavronikolas enterer the fray challenging Anastassiades to give specific examples in order to determine if there was in fact a “mass clean-up” in areas of public life.

    He said that in his view no such actions had taken place in any ministry.

    Concerning his own ministry, Mavronikolas said he would be the last to “colour any officers with party colours” and the last to allow nepotism and unfair treatment in the National Guard.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, June 13, 2003

    [03] Denktash: Hannay behaving like a ‘snobbish colonial governor’

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday accused Britain’s outgoing special envoy Lord David Hannay of acting like a “snobbish colonial governor”.

    Lord Hannay, who resigned last week, said on Tuesday a Cyprus settlement would never entertain the notion of two states on the island.

    “Who are you?” Denktash was quoted as asking Hannay yesterday. “There is the state regardless of whether he recognises us or not.”

    “Hannay, during his six-year term in office, always considered the Cyprus issue from the point of view of the Greek Cypriots. He kept saying that they would never recognise a separate state and always acted like a snobbish colonial governor, and never wanted to understand what we wanted to say,” Denktash said.

    “Now he has left office and said there would never be two states. Who are you to say this? It is the most serious injustice to say ‘I do not and will not recognise your state’ to a people who founded its state. This is a shame for those who don’t recognise it.”

    Denktash, who rejected a UN solution plan in March by refusing to put it to a referendum, said he was ready for the resumption of talks on the basis of two separate states, something the Greek Cypriot side and the international community will never accept.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader also criticised the UN. Secretary-general’s Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto, saying the Peruvian diplomat “did not have the capability to understand Cyprus issue”.

    Denktash’s outburst came as President Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday dismissed reports that a US-led push for a solution based on the Annan plan would begin in September.

    He said neither he nor Foreign Minister George Iacovou, who is currently in the US for contacts with American officials, had any such information. “I am not aware of any such initiative,” Papadopoulos said. “I do not know if they (the Americans) are preparing one.”

    Iacovou has met US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

    He told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) in Washington that his interlocutors acknowledged the US has to work with a view to convincing Turkey to contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    He said that during his meeting with Cheney he had put forward the Cyprus government’s view that the US needed to exert pressure on Turkey to show a more conciliatory stance.

    “Cheney accepted all of our arguments,” Iacovou said and added: “the American Vice President asked a lot of questions and said he would talk to President Bush personally.

    “A solution to the Cyprus problem will benefit everybody, including Turkey, I would say it will benefit primarily Ankara. US officials acknowledged that Washington must work in the direction of Turkey,” Iacovou said.

    At the annual PSEKA conference, also in Washington, former US presidential emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke blamed the lack of progress on Denktash, calling him “intransigent” and “unmovable”.

    “It is very difficult for Denktash to move, even if the US put enough pressure to the Turkish General Staff, which won’t put pressure on Denktash and Denktash is very hard to be pressured,” Holbrooke said.

    He was also critical of the Bush administration for not putting enough pressure on Turkey. “They are not doing it because they don’t want to overload their relationship with Turkey. All of us understand how important Turkey is strategically. But I simply don’t buy the theory that we are going to upset them if we show the will to solve Cyprus,” he added.

    On the contrary, he said, “solving the Cyprus problem will be good for Turkey, it will stabilise the region and it will serve the American security interests for solving the longest existing current problem in Europe”.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, June 13, 2003

    [04] Laiki shrugs off Moody’s review

    By Jean Christou

    LAIKI Bank said yesterday that it was not concerned that Moody’s Investors Service was placing the foreign currency deposit and foreign currency bond ratings of Cypriot banks on review for a possible downgrade.

    Moody’s specifically mentioned Cyprus Popular Bank (Laiki) for a possible downgrade review of its financial strength rating (FSR). It would review with the possibility of downgrading Bank of Cyprus’ A2 long-term foreign currency deposit rating and A3 foreign currency subordinated bond rating, Laiki’s A2 long-term foreign currency deposit rating, its A3 foreign currency subordinated bond rating and C-financial strength rating, and Hellenic Bank’s A2 long-term foreign currency deposit rating.

    During the review for possible downgrade, Moody’s will assess the quality of Laiki’s earnings and the sufficiency of its provisions and capital- raising ability relative to the bank’s operating environment and growth potential.

    “Moody’s in its most recent evaluation, in December 2002, maintained the Group’s rating of A2 (long-term) and P2 (short-term), which is considered very satisfactory,” a statement from Laiki said yesterday. “We would also like to point out that a lot of banks internationally have been placed under follow-up or have been downgraded because the international economic recession.”

    With regard to the review for a possible downgrade of the deposit and bond ratings, Moody’s said on Wednesday that the foreign currency liabilities of Cypriot banks were growing rapidly; as Cypriot banks expand overseas, with particular emphasis on Greece, there may be timing and support delays due to possible oversight and government resource constraints within a fixed exchange-rate environment in Cyprus that is subject to capital controls.

    Moody’s also said that following likely EU accession in May 2004 and in view of the stricter EU regulations regarding state support, the Cypriot authorities may not be able to provide non-market-based support to the banks. During the review for possible downgrade, Moody’s will assess the ability of the Cypriot authorities to provide support for the banks, post- EU accession, it said.

    “Pertaining to the review for a possible downgrade of the FSR of Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB), Moody’s notes that continued domestic market weakness and provisioning needs along with cost-effective capital-raising constraints are likely to slow the diversification benefit of overseas expansion for the bank,” a statement from the company said. “Continued domestic market weakness and constricted overseas expansion may weaken CPB’s intrinsic financial strength.”

    Laiki said, however, that this was not a cause for concern if the local and international environment in which the banks were moving was taken into account.

    “With the long-lasting international recession, the negative climate that prevails in the Cypriot economy, the reduction of the tourist flow and also the situation that prevails in the stock market, no one could expect that this would not affect the banking system,” the statement said.

    However, it added that the measures being taken by the banks were countering the negative repercussions of the current economic situation.

    “The Groups results for 2003 are satisfactory despite the negative climate that prevails,” Laiki said, adding that its operations abroad were important to the bank’s profitability and would be continuing.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, June 13, 2003

    [05] Inmates costing £36 each a day in overcrowded prison

    By a Staff Reporter

    EACH inmate in the central prison costs taxpayers £36 a day and there is a serious shortage of toilets due to overcrowding, the House Legal Affairs Committee heard yesterday.

    Speaking before the committee, DISY deputy Nicos Tornaritis revealed that each inmate cost taxpayers £36 a day, not including the provision of medical care.

    Deputy chairman of the committee Ionas Nicolaou further charged that in one prison wing, 94 convicts had to share four baths and four toilets while eight baths and five toilets were shared among 102 inmates in another wing.

    Nicolaou slammed the authorities for not exercising their powers to deport foreign convicts. The number of inmates yesterday stood at 417 with the capacity being 230.

    Over 100 foreigners are being held solely for entering or working illegally.

    Tornaritis said the human rights of the inmates were being violated, urging Attorney-general Solon Nikitas to exercise his powers to ease the overcrowding before the Council of Europe condemned Cyprus.

    Speaking after the meeting, Tornaritis said foreign prisoners were deprived of rights enjoyed by other inmates, like the right to be in the open prison.

    “For the sake of public interest the Attorney-general should look into this serious case before Cyprus is singled out again,” the DISY deputy said.

    Nikitas has already rejected pleas for suspending the sentences of foreign prisoners and deporting them, arguing it would be unfair on other prisoners.

    The Attorney-general added he neither had the authority to build new prisons nor extend current ones.

    Tornaritis said no one had asked the Attorney-general to build or extend the prison but to enforce his authority.

    “The constitution gives the Attorney-general these authorities; for the lawmaker to give these authorities it means there is a reason, which is there, as long as the Attorney-general realises and makes the most of it,” Tornaritis said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Friday, June 13, 2003

    [06] Settlers want the Annan plan and a solution

    By Alexia Saoulli

    TURKISH settlers living in the occupied areas want Cypriot nationality and say it is one of their basic human rights, the leader of the Turkish Settlers’ Association, Nuri Cevikel, said in an interview published yesterday.

    However, most have nothing against Greek Cypriots and many are even willing to relocate to Turkey and allow Greek Cypriots to reclaim their land, as long as their government compensates them and helps them make a fresh start, he told Politis. And the association believes that the Annan plan provides the best platform to solve the Cyprus problem, he said.

    The association represents Turks who emigrated from Turkey to Cyprus after 1975 and who were either born here or married Turkish Cypriots and had children.

    Their presence on the island has been a sore point in solving the Cyprus problem, with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash claiming they have the right to stay and Greek Cypriots wanting them relocated back to Turkey.

    But, according to Cevikel, settlers, and particularly the younger generations, are in no way prejudiced against Greek Cypriots. “That has been apparent from the way we have received all those who have visited our districts,” he said, adding that despite predictions to the contrary, good relations, and even friendships, had developed between both sides in recent weeks.

    In fact, he said Greek Cypriots had showed settlers the same treatment. “I can say they are friendly and honest and show themselves to be unbiased.”

    Cevikel said settlers were not opposed to Greek Cypriots reclaiming their homes and lands. “What we want is to get financial support from our government so that we can start again,” he said.

    In 1974 the Turkish government started a campaign enticing native Turks to move to Cyprus, he said. They were promised homes, land and work. However, although the homes and land were there, the work was harder to find and settlers never received proper training and education, despite repeated requests for them, said Cevikel. “That’s why most Turks here are involved in farming and live in financially difficult conditions,” he said.

    This in itself is a huge problem, because younger generations do not wish to leave Cyprus and want to build their lives here, he said.

    At present, there are around 55,000-60,000 Turkish settlers in the north. Until recently they had mainly supported Denktash and his regime, but empty promises and the belief that he was not working towards the best possible Cyprus problem solution, had turned a great many of them against him, he said.

    Cevikel added that settlers’ economic and educational level was far below that of Turkish Cypriots, a fact that had been taken advantage of by right wing parties to secure their support. But things were starting to change, he said, as newer generations became more educated.

    Perhaps most significant is that fact that most people under the age of 40 feel Cypriot. “When we go back to Turkey on holiday we introduce ourselves and are introduced as ‘the Cypriots’,” he said.

    That was why they resented not being allowed to cross over into the government controlled areas ever since the easing of restrictions in April.

    “Taking into account that we have lived on the island for three decades, we believe that giving us Cypriot nationality is one of our basic human rights, ” he said. “Our members are upset because they cannot visit the other half of their island and get to know it”.

    Cevikel also pointed out that Greek Cypriots politicians were contradicting themselves by welcoming Turkey’s decision to allow Greek Cypriots to travel there without a visa while barring Turks from crossing the Green Line. He said this attitude played right into Denktash’s hands, as he was able to make propaganda speeches about Turkish settlers’ human rights being trampled on.

    “Our desire is for a peaceful and immediate solution based on UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan’s plan. In short, we view the plan as a basis for a complete solution to the Cyprus problem.”

    Nevertheless there were some changes that would make the solution even more satisfactory, he said.

    “We believe it would be possible to draw up a plan that included a smoother border. We also believe the solution should be based on equal military powers on both sides. It would also be acceptable to have a system of one political identity and two separate, social political structures…. I’d like to note that a large number of Turkish settlers will return to their birthplace if they are given satisfactory financial compensation in exchange for an new start in their new home. Finally, we believe that a mixed community would be possible to a certain degree,” he said.

    The problem, however, is that the Turkish and Greek Cypriot authorities are not working towards solving an immediate and viable solution, said Cevikel. “I believe that the people must push for the necessary steps to create a peaceful island. The existing situation in Cyprus is not the solution to the problem.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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