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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-06-14

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, June 14, 2003


  • [01] Ex-minister warns refinery decision could leave Cyprus short of fuel
  • [02] Minister vows to clean up prison before European inspectors arrive
  • [03] Advertising an occupying power: government indignation at reports of Turkish tourist ad campaign
  • [04] Debt law amendments ‘will not solve prison crisis’
  • [05] Girl of seven battles against kidney failure as doctors lament donor shortage
  • [06] Deadly pellets to be cleaned out of Salt Lake
  • [07] New appeal to Turkish Cypriot relatives of missing
  • [08] Government denies knowledge of embarrassing poll
  • [09] Government pleads with Turkish Cypriots to be patient over documents
  • [10] Teachers threaten strike action

  • [01] Ex-minister warns refinery decision could leave Cyprus short of fuel

    By Alex Mita

    FORMER Trade and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis yesterday blasted the government’s intentions to scrap plans to upgrade the petroleum refinery in Larnaca and turn the area into a fuel import terminal, saying the move could leave the island without fuel.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Rolandis said a study carried out when he was in office showed that upgrading the refinery and keeping it operational until 2010 was the cheapest option available.

    “Experts at the ministry in the past have found that the best solution would be to upgrade the refinery and that that the upgrading would cost the public around £60 million less than any other solution, that being a fuel terminal or anything else,” Rolandis said.

    “What is strange is that a study is being carried out by perhaps the same people that did it before, and the (Commerce and Industry) Minister claims those people are finding the opposite results.”

    Rolandis said the study showed the way the refinery was structured is such that all the space could not be turned into a vast tank farm.

    “Such a move would not be able to be administered properly because they would have to have very small tanks, which means that fuel would have to be shipped using smaller vessels, something which means that freight could go up from $6 to $25,” Rolandis said.

    Rolandis also warned the island could be left without fuel if there were delays in delivery.

    Meanwhile the government is almost set to approve the plan to turn the refinery into a fuel terminal.

    Commerce and Industry Minister George Lillikas yesterday refused to make the results of a technical and financial study public. Speaking to CyBC, Lillikas neither confirmed nor denied the reports, saying the decisions would be made public after the plans were discussed at the next Cabinet meeting.

    “Apart from keeping up with fuel quality standards we can either upgrade the refinery or create a new one in the Vassiliko area, or we can achieve this by creating a fuel terminal at the refinery as a temporary solution, since we are bound to have it removed by 2010,” Lillikas said.

    “However, we are also obliged to create conditions that would allow competition in import and transport of fuel. This means that even if we decided to create a new refinery at Vassiliko, we would also have to create a terminal so that anyone could import or buy ready-made products in order to enter the market.”

    Lillikas said the government was left with the options of either upgrading the refinery and closing it down in 2010, or building the terminal, but refused to comment on what decision the government would take, saying that the decisions will be made in the next Cabinet meeting.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [02] Minister vows to clean up prison before European inspectors arrive

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    JUSTICE Minister Doros Theodorou has vowed to clean up the poor image of the island’s correctional facilities before June 25 when Council of Europe officials will come to inspect human rights violations in the prison system.

    Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Theodorou outlined the aims and programmes of his ministry, which have all received Cabinet approval, including the shape up of the Central Prisons to make it a model for the rest of Europe.

    Prison wings five and eight will be operational before the Council of Europe inspectors arrive, making room for 100 minor offenders, said Theodorou, adding that actions were being taken to release the 24 prisoners sentenced on debt-payment charges. Reform and renovation of the Central Prisons includes capacity increase to reach 450, a Psychiatric Unit within the prison and the setting up of a school for prison wardens.

    The ministry intends to push legislation through parliament that would allow the monitoring of telephone conversations in the fight against crime. Calls would only be tapped when it was in the public interest and in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, said Theodorou. He was optimistic that parliament would see good to pass the provision, despite previous failed efforts.

    The ministry plans also include passing through parliament a change in the law of evidence to allow hearsay evidence be admissible in civil proceedings and criminal cases involving the Stock Exchange.

    Regarding the law on Community Service passed in 1996, Theodorou said he hoped to modify the law by the end of the month in order to implement it as soon as possible. Four supervising will have to be appointed before the law can be enforced, he added.

    In the fight against hooliganism, the ministry is studying ways to hold known hooligans in custody over football weekends, a penalty he believes “will bring a different climate to the pitch”.

    Theodorou argued that the social stigma of having a criminal record often meant that minor offenders were punished for life, and their job prospects seriously diminished as a result. The ministry wants to a pass law that would allow criminal records to be struck off after a certain time-period.

    Other ministry plans include the setting aside of £500,000 to go to non- governmental organisations, including Turkish Cypriot organisations, that will monitor the promotion of equality of the sexes.

    A Criminal Council will be set up to form a comprehensive policy for the fight against crime, while the ministry will issue an invitation for tenders within 10 days for a study on juvenile delinquency.

    Examinations for the Police Force will be handled by the Education Ministry in the future to avoid cheating, which has become a serious phenomenon, while the Police Academy will also be upgraded. By autumn, the Fire Service will gain autonomy from the Justice Ministry, while by 2004, an Internal Control Council will be established to fight corruption.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [03] Advertising an occupying power: government indignation at reports of Turkish tourist ad campaign

    By George Psyllides

    THE GOVERNEMNT said yesterday it would be inconceivable for any local media to advertise an occupying power country as a tourist destination

    Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas was responding to reports that several outlets on the island were considering publishing adverts paid for by the Turkish tourism organisation to attract Cypriot tourists to the country.

    According to the reports, the Turkish tourism organisation has hired an Austrian company to look into the cost of advertising in Cyprus, but only in newspapers, magazines, and billboards.

    The Austrian company asked an affiliated Greek company for the information and they in turn requested from their Cypriot associates to carry out market research.

    Simerini claimed at least five media outlets had shown interest in advertising Turkey as a tourist destination.

    But it was not certain that the Turkish tourism organisation would go ahead with its campaign, the daily added.

    Yesterday, Lillikas said he was saddened by the affair because, if true, it meant that some people did not care about principles and values any more.

    “What they are trying to do - and I don’t know if it’s going to happen - is to promote an occupying country as a tourist destination in the country it occupies,” Lillikas said.

    He added it would be inconceivable for citizens of a semi-occupied country to advertise the occupying country or even visit it.

    Lillikas said the government could not tell the media what they could accept or reject and that it was up to them to decide if they were going to take a decision on the basis of principle or money.

    The reports come after the Turkish government last month lifted travel restrictions on Cypriots wanting to visit Turkey. Cypriot nationals are now able to obtain an automatic three-month entry visa on arrival at Turkish ports of entry.


    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [04] Debt law amendments ‘will not solve prison crisis’

    By Sofia Kannas

    AMENDMENTS to the law on debtors approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday will not relieve the crisis in overcrowded prisons, Deputy Chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee Ionas Nicolaou said yesterday.

    “This will not stop the problem of overcrowding in the jails,” he warned.

    The House approved legislation to bridge the gap left when new Attorney- general Solon Nikitas decided last month to put an end to his predecessor’s practice of suspending debtors’ jail sentences, resulting in an influx of inmates to the central prisons.

    Yesterday, the number of prisoners reached 417, well above the official capacity of 232 inmates.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Nicolaou said the amendments would give the opportunity for debtors unable to pay their dues to go to court and apply for the court order to be postponed or annulled. The publication of the law also permits those currently in jail for debt offences to apply for a reprieve. But, the law also states that courts can grant reprieves only if the debtors prove they are unable to pay their dues.

    Legal aid will also be provided to those sentenced for debts. The amendments also mean that individuals who delay paying alimony or tax installments will not be jailed. Courts also have the authority to extend the payment period and readjust installments. The House voted against an amendment that would have declared bankrupt those who defaulted on debt payments.

    Nicolaou said the amendments would come into effect next Friday.

    But he warned that the changes would not alter the state of the prisons.

    “In order for the conditions to improve, the Attorney-general must accept the proposal for 196 inmates to be released.”

    On Monday, Director of the Central Prisons Panicos Kyriacou said a proposal had been submitted to the Justice Ministry requesting that 196 foreign inmates be released early in order to free up space and relieve overcrowding.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [05] Girl of seven battles against kidney failure as doctors lament donor shortage

    By Alexia Saoulli

    CHILDREN suffering from kidney failure are being forced to undergo regular dialysis procedures because of the lack of organ donors in Cyprus, doctors treating one little girl said yesterday.

    There have only been a limited number of cadaver organ donors this year, the Paraskevaidion Surgical and Transplant Foundation confirmed. Because of this, children are having to endure dialysis in order to live. A successful transplant would give them 15-20 years of normal life.

    Andrea Stylianou is just seven years old. In January, she was struck with Haemolytic Urenic Syndrome (HUS), which destroyed both her kidneys beyond repair. HUS has a 60 per cent mortality rate and its exact cause is unknown.

    “She is in end stage renal failure and is currently undergoing peritoneal dialysis until a donor can be found,” Andrea’s doctor, Makarios Hospital paediatric nephrologist, Avraam Elias, told the Cyprus Mail.

    Unfortunately, Andrea’s parents, Costas and Thekla, are not allowed to donate one of their kidneys to save their little girl because HUS has a high reoccurrence rate. It would therefore be unethical to risk a live person donating a kidney, Elias said.

    In the meantime, they must undergo peritoneal dialysis, a very expensive procedure paid by the government at an average of £100 a day. It uses the lining of the abdomen to filter blood. A cleansing solution (dialysate) is introduced into the abdomen via a catheter. Fluid, wastes, and chemicals pass from tiny blood vessels in the peritoneal membrane into the dialysate. After several hours, the dialysate is drained from the abdomen and replaced with new solution. The procedure lasts about 45 minutes to an hour and is repeated five times a day, he said. It is more commonly used on children because it is less painful.

    Because this type of dialysis can be done at home, Andrea’s parents have learned how to perform the task.

    “We’re psychologically a mess,” Andrea’s father Costas told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    The parents, who live in Paphos, have not told Andrea how very sick she is. “It’s hard enough for her. We simply tell her she’s going to get better.”

    Andrea will be eight in November. She has been forced to drop out of school this year and has been confined to her home, only allowed to see friends and extended family on a very limited basis. “She’s lonely and has become obsessed with food and doesn’t understand why she can’t eat everything she used to,” said Costas. “She cannot have a lot of protein, her food is all boiled, she is only allowed a limited amount of water, no salt and eats mostly rice and pasta. This is a child who used to eat everything and had a healthy appetite. She misses soft drinks and chocolates and we can’t give them to her,” he said. The family all have the same small food portions as Andrea. Her parents can bear the meals, but it’s harder on her 12-year-old brother, who is forced to eat treats at school or outside the home so as not to tempt his younger sister.

    “We are just waiting and praying to God that a donor can be found. What else have we got left?” Costas said.

    Andrea’s blood type (B) is common enough and her chances of finding a donor with the right tissue type is good, her doctor said. The problem lies in finding cadavers that are organ donors. “I don’t know why people don’t donate organs more often. It could be that some just don’t want to give them up or are not well informed on the subject,” said Elias. Nonetheless, the fact remains that four Cypriot children between the ages of three and 12 are currently waiting for donors, while another nine-month year old is waiting to be old enough to undergo its transplant. “If a cadaver donor is not found, some of them will have to have transplants from their parents,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [06] Deadly pellets to be cleaned out of Salt Lake

    By Alex Mita

    SHOTGUN pellets fired into the Larnaca Salt Lake from a nearby shooting range causing the death of more than 20 flamingos from lead poisoning are to be removed, the Department of Fisheries said yesterday.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, a fisheries department expert said scientists were carrying out studies of the lakebed to determine the extent of the damage and the best way to remove the pellets without causing harm to the ecosystem.

    “A study is being carried out to determine the area and depth were the pellets are located,” the experts said.

    “The best way for the pellets to be removed is to wait until the lakebed dries up so that experts can remove them with special equipment.”

    The expert said there was a possibility that chunks of the lakebed would have to be removed in order to make sure the pellets were completely removed. Reports say the pellets are located at a depth of five centimetres inside the lakebed and at around 250 metres from the shooting range.

    Following the death of the flamingos, the House ordered that the shooting range should cease operating in the area and that the necessary steps be taken to remove the pellets in order to save the birds.

    Larnaca Mayor Andreas Moyseos confirmed yesterday that the government had pledged the shooting range would be relocated.

    “The firing range issue is a closed chapter as far as we are concerned,” he said.

    “It is now closed, the owners are in discussion with the government to have it moved somewhere else. There had been some problems regarding costs but the issue seems to have been resolved and therefore we are not worried now about the shooting range continuing its operation around the area of the Salt Lake.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [07] New appeal to Turkish Cypriot relatives of missing

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE government yesterday issued an appeal to the families of a Turkish Cypriots listed as missing from a Larnaca district village since 1974 to provide the blood samples necessary for DNA testing.

    Last December, an exploratory excavation near Alaminos unearthed the remains of 14 Turkish Cypriots killed in a gun battle with the National Guard on July 20, 1974.

    Nineteen people were reportedly killed during the incident, including the Turkish Cypriots who were buried on the spot by Greek Cypriot villagers.

    The exhumations were conducted by the international organisation Physicians for Human Rights.

    But despite repeated pleas, the families of the dead failed to provide the necessary samples for DNA testing.

    Yesterday, the government issued a fresh appeal for relatives to step forward in order for identification to proceed.

    In a written statement, the government stressed that the whole process was humanitarian and aimed to express respect to the right of the families to be informed of the fate of their loved ones and to return the remains for proper burial in accordance with their customs, traditions and religious practices.

    A 1997 agreement on the issue of missing persons, signed by former president Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, provides for the exhumation of remains across Cyprus.

    In the summer of 1999, the government embarked on a process of exhumation and identification of remains in two local cemeteries.

    The process identified 32 dead Greek Cypriots who had been listed as missing, bringing down the number to 1,587.

    No similar activities were undertaken by the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [08] Government denies knowledge of embarrassing poll

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday denied commissioning a poll, which gives them only a 50 per cent approval rating among the electorate.

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides told the Cyprus Mail he had no knowledge of such a poll. But Politis yesterday published details of the survey, which gives the government a 50 per cent approval rating. The newspaper says it received the details from a government source.

    “I have no knowledge about a poll,” Chrysostomides said.

    According to Politis the most popular minister in the government is Interior Minister Andreas Christou, followed by Finance Minister Marcos Kyprianou.

    Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas is listed as the third most popular minister, followed by Communications and Works Minister Kikis Kazamias, Health Minister Dina Akkelidou, Government Spokesman Chrysostomides, Justice Minister Doros Theodorou and Defence Minister Kyriacos Mavronicolas.

    Low on the ratings were Agriculture Minister Timis Efthymiou, Labour Minister Makis Keravnos and Foreign Minster George Iacovou. The least popular minister, according to Politis, is Education Minister Pefkios Georgiades.

    On general issues, the reported poll found that in general the Cyprus issue was still the number one concern for Greek Cypriots, followed by the state of the economy.

    Politis said a second poll was also being carried out into the image projected by the government, and that this issue would be discussed at the Cabinet next week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [09] Government pleads with Turkish Cypriots to be patient over documents

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE Government Spokesman yesterday pleaded with Turkish Cypriots not to overwhelm public offices, saying there was plenty of time for them to obtain passports and other official documents.

    Turkish Cypriots have in recent days complained about delays in the procedures of obtaining passports, identity cards and other documents from district administrations in the free areas.

    Kypros Chrysostomides yesterday repeated that there was plenty of time and that Turkish Cypriots should not rush the offices for their documents.

    “Crowds, no matter if the applicants are Greek or Turkish Cypriot, always cause inconveniences,” Chrysostomides said.

    He added: “I believe the responsible officials have no intention of putting people through any inconvenience, they try to serve them in the best possible way.”

    Chrysostomides said around 20,000 Turkish Cypriots had applied for official documents since restrictions on movement were partially lifted on April 21.

    The spokesman said the government was looking to scrap a £15 fine for delays in declaring births - imposed on Turkish Cypriots who before had no way of crossing south to register births.

    “The issue is before the House and the Interior Minister is fully informed and all procedures to stop the fine will be followed,” Chrysostomides said.

    Concerning the export of Turkish Cypriot products, Chrysostomides said it was his conviction that solutions would be found to facilitate the movement of goods from the occupied areas.

    He said the messages they were getting from the north were keen for further facilitation of trade transactions and exports.

    “The issue is being discussed in Brussels and I hope there will be solutions so that movement of goods will be facilitated.

    “This is mainly the wish of the Turkish Cypriot opposition,” the spokesman said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Saturday, June 14, 2003

    [10] Teachers threaten strike action

    By Sofia Kannas

    SECONDARY School Teachers will go on strike next week if their demands are not met, union President Soteris Charalambous warned yesterday.

    “We will wait and see if there is any progress and if not, then we will take the measures that we decided upon,” he said.

    The Secondary School Teachers’ Union (OELMEK) sent the Education Ministry an ‘ultimatum’ on Thursday warning that if the Ministry did not act to solve the problems in secondary schools, industrial action would follow.

    “There are significant problems in secondary education and we don’t see them being solved by the Ministry,” Charalambous said. “Things don’t seem to be improving despite our appeal to the new Minister. Something needs to be done so we can carry on with the new school year without these problems.”

    Charalambous said that from next Thursday, union members would abstain from correcting and supervising university entrance exams if the Ministry ignored their demands. Members are also expected to picket outside a meeting of European Education Ministers scheduled for June 27.

    OELMEK’s demands include the finalisation of a teaching assessment scheme, the timely staffing of schools and the immediate submission of transfer rules for teachers.

    Charalambous stressed that if the Ministry showed the inclination to act on OELMEK’s demands, the union would be willing to lift the strike threat and begin negotiations to resolve the dispute.

    But Director of Secondary Education at the ministry, Andreas Skotinos, dismissed the union’s stance: “We see no point in the strike action.

    I don’t really know what the fuss is about.”

    Skotinos noted that some of OELMEK’s demands were already being addressed.

    “One of their requests is already under way,” he said. “And as regards the regulation of the movement of teachers, the Minister has already told the union he is wiling to take the issue up in Parliament.”

    He also emphasised that the implementation of certain demands were “just a matter of time”.

    Skotinos added that the Ministry was ready to take up negotiations with OELMEK and other unions.

    “The Ministry is ready for continuous dialogue and communication with all partners in the education process,” he said.

    Members of the Primary Teachers’ Union (POED) confirmed yesterday they would not be joining the proposed strike.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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