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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-06-25

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, June 25, 2003


  • [01] English School reports interest from Turkish Cypriots to join next year
  • [02] One in eight artistes marries a Cypriot
  • [03] Strike warning in petrol dispute
  • [04] ‘Begging gangs from Greece muscling in to Cyprus’
  • [05] New outpatient clinics for Nicosia once hospital moves
  • [06] New consumer protection body launched
  • [07] Hellas Jet takes off at last
  • [08] Cyprus to house EU transit camp for illegal immigrants?

  • [01] English School reports interest from Turkish Cypriots to join next year

    By Alexia Saoulli

    TURKISH Cypriot students have shown great interest in attending the English School in Nicosia this September, headmaster Robert Swan said yesterday.

    The fee-paying school said a total number of 20 places had been made available for Turkish Cypriot students in Years 2, 3, 4 and 6.

    Late entrance examinations for Years 2, 3 and 4 will be held at the school next Thursday and candidates for Year 6 will be interviewed in early September.

    “We have received 36 firm applications for examinations for Years 2, 3 and 4,” said Swan.

    Candidates for Year 6 have until August to apply, which was why there were no firm applications yet, he said. “They still have plenty of time and are also waiting for their ‘O’ level results this summer.”

    Around 100 potential Turkish Cypriot parents and students, who are interested in finding out more about the school, attended an orientation evening last week, he added.

    “We had arranged for a bus to pick them up from the checkpoint and in the end it had to run three times. Since then, they have been queuing up to register.”

    Turkish Cypriot parents have a number of concerns, said Swan.

    “Some are concerned about the stability of the situation as there is no guarantee the checkpoints are going to stay open, although they are still willing to send their children here,” he said.

    It was also not feasible for students to cross by car through the Ayios Dhometios checkpoint every morning and they would have to come over from the Ledra Palace checkpoint on foot. “Transportation to school by bus will have to be arranged, but it’s a question of who will pay for it.”

    The parents would also like to know if they were going to receive financial assistance from the government. “The English School has not received any official information as to whether or not the government will help Turkish Cypriots cover the cost of school fees,” said Swan. The Cyprus Mail has in vain been trying to get an answer from the Education Ministry on the issue for three weeks.

    Twenty places is the maximum number of additional places the school could provide this year since entrance examinations had already taken place. “We’re not necessarily going to fill those places and they have not been taken away from Greek Cypriots or other candidates. They were created specially for Turkish Cypriot students and will only go to candidates who can cope with the English School environment. They will not be made available to other candidates if they are not all fulfilled,” he said. The interested students will mainly have to demonstrate that their English is good enough to keep up with the curriculum, and that their general academic knowledge is up to standard, he said.

    One of the parents’ concerns was whether or not the standard of education in the north was comparable, he said. “We don’t yet know the answer to that yet. On Thursday, we’ll get a clearer idea,” said Swan.

    In future, the school hopes to offer places on a quota system - four classes in Year 1 for Greek Cypriots and one class for Turkish Cypriots. Unsuccessful candidates could then reapply in Year 2, as long as their English was up to standard, he said.

    The English School was a bicommunal school since its foundation in 1900 until 1974. For more information contact the Head Teacher on 22-799302 or email

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    [02] One in eight artistes marries a Cypriot

    By a Staff Reporter

    ONE in eight cabaret artistes coming to work on the island marries to a Cypriot, while there are around 1,200 civil weddings between local men and foreign women every year, compared to 70 marriages between Cypriot women and foreign men, the House Human Rights Committee heard yesterday.

    Immigration officer Costas Pilavas, told the committee there were 78 cabarets operating on the island and employing 1,000 artistes, and 38 nightclubs employing 270 artistes.

    Pilavas said around 3,500 to 4,000 artistes came to Cyprus every year, while there were 22 agents and 92 employment bureaus dealing solely with finding foreign workers.

    The committee yesterday continued discussion on the human rights violations of local and foreign women used to provide sex.

    Assistant police chief Soteris Charalambous said there were few actual reports of physical abuse, exploitation or pimping of foreign women working in Cyprus, stressing the difficulties women faced in filing reports of abuse or exploitation.

    Charalambous said all cabarets had installed surveillance cameras to check who went in and out, including police officers.

    Between 1999 and 2002, there were 26 reported cases of physical abuse, 14 cases of exploitation at the workplace and 24 cases of pimping.

    The representative of artistes’ agents, Andreas Pirillos, said there had been cases of artistes who got married six months or a year after arriving on the island.

    The spokesman for the Union of Municipalities insisted all civil weddings were carried out legally and that all foreigners needed to have a sworn statement certified by a court in their country that they were not married.

    In 2002, Nicosia Municipality carried out 53 mixed weddings, and 23 so far this year.

    But the record is held by the Aradhippou Municipality in Larnaca, with 5, 000 mixed civil in five years.

    Aradhippou mayor Christakis Lyberis said 90 per cent of the weddings conducted at his town hall involved Russian Jews who came to Cyprus to get married because they could not get a civil wedding in Israel.

    The committee asked the Union to provide all information on civil weddings conducted since 1998.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    [03] Strike warning in petrol dispute

    By Alex Mita

    PETROL STATION operators have warned they will consider industrial action unless oil companies agree to their terms for the renewal of a collective agreement.

    Petrol station operators claimed each station was losing £22,000 a year and demanded that oil companies inject a further £20,000 per station to cover operational costs.

    The President of the Pancyprian Association of Petrol Stations, Pambinos Charalambous, said appropriate measures would be decided at a general assembly.

    The dispute began last year when the collective agreement between the two parties expired: it centres around commission paid to petrol station operators, as well as staff to meet the needs of running the stations.

    Charalambous said expenses for running a petrol station amounted to £82,000 a year, compared to average income of £60,000.

    ExxonMobil yesterday refused to comment on the issue. A spokesman told the Cyprus Mail the matter was being discussed with the union and was hopeful that a solution would be reached.

    But Petrolina Managing Adviser Kikis Lefkaritis was furious with the petrol station owners, saying oil companies had already agreed to most of their demands.

    “We didn’t want to say too much on the issue because it is being handled by the government, but we feel the truth should be told and the public should be made aware of what is happening around this dispute,” he said.

    “We accepted most of their demands as a token of good will, such as increased costs and their demand on the increase in clear earnings, something which we already had guaranteed.”

    Lefkaritis said the association had wanted £24,000 in employee wages, to which the oil companies agreed, but then raised their demand to £36,000.

    “They wanted £24,000 to cover wages, but when they took their demands to the ministry they changed the amount to £36,000 because they knew that they had no basis for their demand so they just put in an amount and hoped for the best,” Lefkaritis said.

    “At the end of the day, this money is paid by the consumer, so we carried out a study and presented the results to the ministry. We met with the government and the station operators, and the government suggested an independent study whose findings would be binding.

    “We accepted their suggestion but the operators didn’t, saying the study would take too long. The government guaranteed the study would be concluded within a month they still said no and demanded that their demands be met there and then.”

    Lefkaritis said the station owners were focussing on the figure of £24,000 per petrol station, thus concealing the full impact on the economy.

    “If their demands are met the total amount payable amounts to £5 million,” he said.

    “This would have a huge impact on the consumer and the economy.”

    Lefkaritis said he was hopeful that with government intervention and more meetings, the station operators would finally be persuaded to change their minds.

    “If they go on strike that is something the government has to take care of, ” Lefkaritis said.

    “The government has asked for five days time to make more efforts but they won’t accept that, they want everything and they want it now.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    [04] ‘Begging gangs from Greece muscling in to Cyprus’

    By a Staff Reporter

    AKEL deputy Kikis Yiangou claimed yesterday that organised beggars were arriving from Greece to take advantage of the generosity of the Cypriot people by trading in human need.

    Speaking before the Human Rights Committee, the outspoken deputy alleged that, “this unfamiliar phenomenon for Cyprus, which is common in big cities abroad, can be attributed to certain cunning people who trade in human need and pain, touching the sensitivity of our generous people”.

    Yiangou said he had information that these beggars came from Greece as part of an organised plan.

    “Cyprus is virgin territory for this kind of trade,” Yiangou said.

    He suggested that police look into the issue and stamp it out before it bedded in.

    The chairman of the committee, Sophocles Fyttis, asked the legal service to submit a list of possible improvements to the law to stamp out organised begging, but the legal service, through its representative Lambriani Usta, said their was no specific law regulating the issue.

    Justice Ministry representative Agathi Zacheou told the committee that her ministry would look into the issue and table its suggestions in the next meeting.

    Labour Ministry spokesman Vladhimiros Aristodimou told Zacheou that the law on fundraising should be reassessed in co-operation with the Ministries of Interior and Justice and the legal service.

    He charged that special bureaus undertook fundraisers without permission, adding that icons and calendars were also sold without necessary permits.

    Interior Ministry official Kypros Manoulos told deputies that the ministry last year had issued 54 permits for fundraisers, and 33 so far this year.

    A police spokesman said the force would crack down on such phenomena and urged the public to inform authorities the moment they noticed beggars.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    [05] New outpatient clinics for Nicosia once hospital moves

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THREE outpatient clinics will be set up in central Nicosia within the next two years to coincide with the opening of the new Nicosia General Hospital in Athalassa.

    Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zampelas told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the clinics would be built in order to provide patients with health care near the city centre.

    “There will be a small outpatients hospital near the Ledra Palace Hotel, in front of the courts. It will mainly deal with primary care needs, but will also have some specialists in too,” he said.

    An extension of the hospital will be set up within the city walls opposite the small mosque on Lefkonos Street, while the old market place which currently serves as an Olympics museum in Palouriotissa will be converted into a new branch of the existing Kaimakli outpatients hospital.

    “We need to have spots for patients to visit within the city centre once the general hospital is moved to Athalassa,” said Zampelas.

    The three new outpatient centres, plus the Kaimakli hospital, will cover primary care services (general practitioners). But the hospitals near Ledra Palace and in Kaimakli will also offer specialised care in certain areas, said the mayor.

    “We have identified the services, we are in the process of identifying the locations and will have the centres ready for when the new General Hospital opens up,” he said.

    Currently, primary and secondary outpatient services are carried out at the existing Nicosia General Hospital, causing difficulties and delays. Once the new hospital is ready near Latsia, primary care patients will be able to visit one of the four centres in the centre while secondary care services will be provided for by the new hospital.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    [06] New consumer protection body launched

    By a Staff Reporter

    A NEW non-governmental organisation aimed at protecting consumers in every aspect of their lives was launched yesterday.

    The Cyprus Union of Consumers and Quality of Life is an independent, non- political, non-profit organisation, based on similar organisations in the European Union, its chairman, Lucas Aristodemou, said.

    Its main goals, as outlined in its charter, are: “To offer an organised structure to all Cypriot consumers, without discrimination according to sex, race, language, ethnicity, religion, political beliefs etc, for the legal protection, aid, protection and promotion of their right to a comfortable and healthy life, in a healthy and sustainable developing environment, as well as all the other rights and interests that exist under Cyprus law, the acquis communautaire, International Law and their internationally recognised and registered special rights as part of the International Consumers’ Movement.”

    Aristodemou said the new union was in no way competing with the existing Consumers’ Association. He said they had already asked to co-operate with them and that the two organisations were likely to overlap since they both had consumers’ best interests at heart.

    The union plans to conduct investigations into all matters related to consumers and their rights and finances, including health matters, insurance, security and general quality of life.

    “It could involve violations from doctors, lawyers, food, medication or clothes. Basically, anything that affects or comes into contact with consumers in their day-to-day life,” Aristodemou told the Cyprus Mail.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    [07] Hellas Jet takes off at last

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) subsidiary Hellas Jet yesterday launched its first inaugural flight, from Athens to Brussels.

    The flight took off for the Belgian capital at 7.15am, CY spokesman Tassos Angelis told the Cyprus Mail.

    Angelis said the flight was not full, but that numbers were encouraging. He said that, had it not been for the uncertainty of the launch date, passenger numbers would probably have been higher.

    Hellas Jet received an air operator's licence from Greece earlier in the month and had hoped to begin operating on Monday, but a delay in obtaining the commercial licence forced the airline to postpone the launch for 24 hours. The commercial licence was only received on Monday evening.

    “We are sure that the airline will receive a powerful boost during the Olympics next year,’ Angelis said.

    Hellas Jet operates two flights a day to Paris and Brussels and one a day to London Heathrow and Zurich, using three leased Airbus A320s. Angelis said there was a strong possibility the airline would add another two aircraft to the fleet.

    Hellas Jet is 49 per cent owned by CY and 51 per cent by two Greek banks, Alpha and Omega. The airline has some 200 staff.

    Angelis said Cypriot passengers would be able travel on Hellas Jet via Athens to the designated European destinations, staying over in the Greek capital if they wished. He said packages and joint fares were being prepared and would soon be published locally.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    [08] Cyprus to house EU transit camp for illegal immigrants?

    By a Staff Reporter

    ITALY has reached an agreement with Cyprus to build a detention centre on the island as a transit camp for illegal immigrants caught in the Mediterranean, according to Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

    In an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper published yesterday, Frattini said Italy proposed setting up a maritime control centre for the southeast Mediterranean in Cyprus and “a centre, the size of which has yet to be determined, to house clandestine migrants stopped at sea until they are sent back to their home countries”.

    Frattini told the paper that Cyprus had already agreed to the proposal, which has the backing of Britain. The minister added they hoped to open a similar centre in Malta in cooperation with Britain and Spain. Italy is preparing to take over the EU presidency from Greece at the beginning of next month.

    Just a few days earlier, EU leaders at the Salonica summit in Greece rejected Britain’s controversial plan to set up “protection zones” outside EU borders that would stem the flow of asylum seekers.

    Government spokesman, Kypros Chrysostomides was unavailable for comment yesterday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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