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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-22

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, February 22, 1998


  • [01] Juggling the cabinet appointments
  • [02] Nicosia blacks out
  • [03] Paris tries to get Turkey on board
  • [04] Compete or die
  • [05] Security stepped up over Iraq crisis
  • [06] Police set deadline for road tax payment
  • [07] Extra water cuts could have knock-on effect on economy
  • [08] Hoax bank robbery was for promotion
  • [09] Remands extended on drug suspects
  • [10] Leaders do well as home sides crash

  • [01] Juggling the cabinet appointments

    By Charlie Charalambous

    WITH AKEL and Diko determined to stay out of a broader-based government, the make-up of the new cabinet is set to include many familiar faces.

    Although Edek, New Horizons, the United Democrats and the Liberals are thought to have responded favourable to an invitation by President Clerides, only five out of 11 cabinet posts are likely to differ from the previous administration.

    According to "informed" speculation, four Disy ministers will retain their places; Yiannakis Cassoulides (foreign minister), Nicos Koshis (justice), Christodoulos Christodoulou (finance) and Leontios Ierodiaconou (communications).

    And the reward for the Diko rebels who supported Clerides could see Dinos Michaelides (interior) and Andreas Moushiouttas (labour) return to the ministries they held before the Diko-Disy alliance split. Presidential candidate Alexis Galanos, whose stance drew the rebels away from the official Diko line backing George Iacovou is set to receive a special advisory position, having made it clear he did not want a ministerial reward.

    This will leave the smaller parties sharing out what's left.

    Edek is to meet tomorrow to decide whether they will join the government, and on the table before them are two cabinet posts: defence, and either education or health.

    It is understood Edek are keen on the high-profile defence portfolio (party heavyweights Yiannakis Omirou and Efstathios Efstathiou are in the running), but may restrict their ambitions to that one ministry.

    Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides has made it clear he is not interested in the foreign ministry.

    If Edek take only one ministry, this would leave the way open for Disy to capture another ministry, probably education.

    The latest contender for the ministry is understood to be respected educationalist Panayiotis Persianis.

    Edek's refusal to take a second ministry would also leave the door open for New Horizons boss Nicos Koutsou, who is being touted for the health ministry.

    Meanwhile secretive bargaining behind the palace doors indicate that Liberal leader Nicos Rolandis might be in line for the commerce ministry.

    Reports say Rolandis is being offered the job as part of a proposed merger between his party and Disy.

    Talks on the Liberal party becoming part of Disy are expected to be finalised next week.

    Apart from George Vassiliou getting the prestigious EU negotiating role, the United Democrats have also been earmarked for the Agriculture ministry (Costas Themistocleous is the likely choice).

    Despite 80 per cent of the cabinet positions already being sorted out, Clerides is believed to be mulling over whether to replace his trusted lieutenant Manolis Christofides as government spokesman.

    Apparently, Christofides has turned down two alternative offers.

    Clerides is expected to have a completed list of cabinet names by Tuesday, well in time for them to be sworn in next Saturday afternoon.

    [02] Nicosia blacks out

    By Charlie Charalambous

    NICOSIA was plunged into chaos yesterday lunchtime when two high-voltage electricity cables short-circuited causing a three-hour blackout.

    But even though power was returned the capital by mid afternoon, Nicosia was bracing itself for further cuts as the original damage still needed further repair.

    The electricity authority had to feed Nicosia via an alternative source because work on the damaged Athalassa electricity pylon still needed extensive repair.

    It blamed the public works department for the situation and said experts from abroad had had to be called in to fix the damage.

    With demand surging in the evening hours, the authority said it was more than likely that some areas would lose power again.

    The initial power cut happened at around noon yesterday and caused untold chaos on the roads as traffic lights went out at the busiest time of day.

    Police reported that three-quarters of central Nicosia was without electricity until around 3pm but said the evening hours could put pressure on a below-capacity network.

    A spokesman for the fire brigade said around forty emergency calls were received, mainly concerned with people being stuck in lifts.

    He said everyone was safely rescued and there were no reports of any accidents or injury.

    The electricity authority's switchboard was jammed with calls from shops, businesses and householders left in the dark about what had happened.

    [03] Paris tries to get Turkey on board

    By Andrew Adamides

    BRITISH High Commission spokesman Piers Cazalet yesterday denied claims that a draft EU document relating to Cyprus' accession sets out a solution as a precondition to membership.

    The Greek government has claimed that the draft contradicts the earlier British position that there should be no link between a Cyprus settlement and the island's EU accession. Athens has also pointed to a speech given by Britain's Ambassador to Greece Llewelyn Smith in Salonica on Friday in which he said Britain would like to begin the talks with "one Cyprus".

    Speaking in Nicosia, Cazalet said there had been "absolutely no" change in the British position on Cyprus.

    The government spokesman declined to comment yesterday.

    While protesting what it said was the shift in British policy, the government in Athens has been trying to soften Turkey's objections to the opening of accession talks with Cyprus, sending out friendly messages to both the Turkish government and the Denktash regime.

    Deputy foreign minister George Papandreou told a German paper that the island's accession was "a historical opportunity for Turkish Cypriots and Turkey", adding that Turkey itself belonged to Europe and Greece was "the last country that would obstruct Turkey's EU membership".

    Meanwhile, a proposed French "trade-off" deal with Turkey over Cyprus' EU accession has received widespread coverage in the Turkish press.

    Meeting with his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Demirel in Paris, French President Jacques Chirac apparently aired details of a proposal by which Cyprus' accession would be linked to the "indication" that the island would be reunified, even if this were to occur after membership was officially granted.

    The deal would also provide for Greece to "stop blocking the EU from carrying out its obligations to Turkey, particularly on the question of financial co-operation."

    The so-called "French package" is still being developed and has yet to be put before other member states.

    The issue of the S-300 missiles was also discussed at the meeting between Chirac and Demirel, with Turkish mainland daily Hurriyet reporting that France would like to see EU talks suspended if the missiles are deployed.

    Chirac is quoted as telling Demirel he felt the S-300s were a "dangerous development", which must "be prevented" from arriving.

    Paris is also understood to be concerned over how the EU should react if there are no Turkish Cypriots in the island's talks delegation. Reports quoted French officials as saying negotiations should cease immediately if this were to happen, though the actual decision would have to be taken by the EU's British presidency.

    Cyprus' preliminary delegation to pave the way for the beginning of the official accession negotiations next month left the island for Brussels yesterday. It includes the Directors of the Planning Bureau and Agriculture Ministry, as well as representatives of the Bank of Cyprus and Finance Ministry.

    [04] Compete or die

    By Jean Christou

    TOURISM must "compete or perish", bosses in the sector were told at a hard- hitting seminar in Nicosia on Friday.

    The seminar, entitled 'Cyprus Tourism in the 21st Century - Regaining Competitiveness' and organised by Intercollege, focused on practical steps hoteliers and other tourism bosses could take to ensure their survival.

    "Compete or perish" was the message of the seminar, said Intercollege's Executive Dean, Nicos Peristianis, when he addressed the opening.

    During the one-day seminar participants were told by visiting experts and tour operators that Cyprus was still expensive, did not cater for the tastes of a large proportion of visitors and seemed unable to lure them back again.

    Of the clients brought in by German operator TUI, only 5.8 per cent return to Cyprus as opposed to 11.1 per cent for Greece, 10.4 per cent for Turkey and 18.8 per cent for Mallorca, according to TUI Sun and Beach Director Werner Bilgram.

    Participants were also told that despite the fact the island was widely seen as a quality destination, this was no longer enough to set it apart from competitors.

    "Quality and hospitality are expected and no longer offer a distinct competitive advantage," said Professor Andrew Lockwood, one of the two main speakers from the University of Surrey.

    "Cyprus is quality, but this is increasingly not enough," he added.

    According to UK giant Thomson's Product Manager, Lisa Powell, Cyprus has a 77 per cent quality approval compared to around 73 per cent in other destinations in the Mediterranean.

    "Quality has historically been Cyprus' strong point," Powell said. "But the gap has diminished."

    This is due to other destinations improving their quality, she added.

    "There's been a lot of talk about improving quality. We know it's here. We want to maintain that quality, but we need better value for money so competitive rates are required," she warned hoteliers.

    But Richard Butler, the second main speaker from Surrey University said that in his opinion Cyprus was not expensive. "Mustique and the Caribbean are expensive at $3,000 a night. You're more expensive than Malta, but with all due respect to Malta I'd rather come here. I think it's worth coming here and so, it seems, do two million other people," he said.

    "If you're going to buy an Audi you don't compare it to a Ford, you compare it to a Merc."

    [05] Security stepped up over Iraq crisis

    POLICE said yesterday security had been stepped up at around all American interests on the island in view of possible fallout from the deepening crisis in Iraq.

    According to police headquarters, local chiefs have been ordered to increase security measures wherever there are any American connections for fear of attacks by terrorists seeking easy targets.

    Security measures have also been tightened at all ports and airports.

    [06] Police set deadline for road tax payment

    POLICE are warning motorists to get their new tax discs by next week or they will be brought to book.

    On March 2, police will launch a campaign to crack down on drivers who have failed renew their tax discs.

    Around 400,000 vehicles qualify for new tax discs every year and police are worried that a sizeable number of motorists aim to flout the law.

    The authorities urge those who have not received an application form through the post to visit local district transport offices with their details.

    Motorists who fail to renew their discs for three consecutive years are obliged to re-register their vehicle.

    [07] Extra water cuts could have knock-on effect on economy

    IN SPITE of the continued drought, there will be no more water cuts this month on top of those already in force, according to Water Board Director Lakis Charalambous.

    Charalambous said on Friday that he would not be suggesting extra cuts, as these would negatively affect "the quality of life" and would therefore have a knock-on effect on the economy.

    Charalambous also said that no further decisions would be made about the water situation until the new Agriculture Minister was appointed.

    He added, however, that the Water Development Department intended to petition the House of Representatives to switch control of water supplies to their control. At present, water supplies are controlled by local authorities.

    In addition, Charalambous said the Board was planning a new awareness campaign to warn the public of the dangers of wasting water. Special attention is to be paid to the Limassol district, where water wastage is highest.

    There are currently 34 million cubic metres in the island's dams, which have a total capacity of 268 million cubic metres. The figure down on the amount of water in the dams at the same time last year, when Cyprus had 53 million cubic metres at its disposal.

    The island's largest dam at Khouri currently holds just 8.2 million cubic metres, while its total capacity is 115 million.

    [08] Hoax bank robbery was for promotion

    A FOUR-year-old bank robbery in the occupied areas has turned out to be a 'police' hoax, according to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris.

    The paper yesterday reported that the crime had been set up by a group of 'police' officers seeking promotion.

    The discovery was made when Mustafa Harmankaya, the supposed ringleader of the robber gang, returned to the occupied areas from Turkey and was arrested for using a fake name.

    Harmankaya told 'police' he had been deported along with the rest of his gang after being "caught in the act" at the bank, but that he had only been sent to the mainland in order to close the file on the robbery.

    He had, he said, been acting on instructions of senior officers who had paid him to break into the building at a predetermined time.

    This was done, he added, in order to gain speedy promotion for the officers, and to give the impression that the 'police' were catching criminals.

    [09] Remands extended on drug suspects

    FOUR Cypriots were re-remanded by a Larnaca court yesterday in connection with a record haul of 130 kilos of cannabis with a street value of 2 million.

    The four, Stelios Kattis, 58, George Michael, 48, Antonis Antoniou, 28, and Elleni Frangou, 58, are all suspected of possession and importing large quantities of cannabis from Bulgaria.

    Police are expecting Elleni's son, Demetris Frangou, to be extradited from Athens next week so he can be questioned in connection with the case.

    Demetris Frangou is believed to have handled the drug smuggling operation from Bulgaria.

    At yesterday's hearing, the court heard that police suspect Kattis to be the man who ordered the drugs from Bulgaria.

    Police said they had statements from the other three that implicated Kattis as the ring leader in Cyprus.

    According to police, Michael has made a statement in which he admits preparing documents for drugs to come via container from Bulgaria.

    The drug squad expects to make more arrests as part of an investigation, which involves British, Greek and Bulgarian Interpol.

    [10] Leaders do well as home sides crash

    By George Christou

    THE TWO top clubs in the league, Anorthosis and Omonia, both scored away victories yesterday on a bad day for sides playing at home; of the five afternoon fixtures four ended in away wins.

    Two first-half goals gave Anorthosis a 2-1 win over bottom club Ethnikos Ashias in Nicosia and kept them at the top of the table on goal difference.

    Omonia stay in second place after an impressive second-half performance saw them defeat Evagoras 3-1 in Paphos.

    Apollonas moved into third place (ahead of Ethnikos who were playing last night) thanks to an efficient 2-0 victory over second from bottom Anagennisis in Dherynia.

    Paralimni scored their third consecutive league win yesterday, crushing relegation-threatened Alki 4-1 in Larnaca. Ael were the only home side to win yesterday. They beat Apop 2-0 in Limassol

    and climbed to seventh place in the table, their highest position this season.

    Champions Anorthosis looked to be cruising to an easy win at the narrow Kykkos stadium after going two up through Krismarevic - his 11th of the season - and Okkas in the 35th minute.

    Constantinides pulled one back for Ashia on the stroke of half-time, but the bottom club were unable to save the game, their difficulties compounded by the sending-off of Lymbouris midway through the second half.

    After a goalless first half, the league's top scorer, Rauffman, paved the way for an Omonia victory with two well-executed goals in the 50th and 78th minutes. The German striker took his tally for the season to 16.

    Pachtalias pulled a goal back for Evagoras, but in the dying seconds Malekkos restored the two-goal cushion.

    Despite playing without several key players, Apollonas put on a professional display in Dherynia good enough for the three points. Tsolakis set up Spoliaric's opening goal in the 28th minute and scored the second seven minutes after the restart.

    Anagennisis battled for a point, but were unlucky that Nicolic hit the woodwork when they were trailing 1-0. A goal then could have changed the game.

    After yesterday's home defeat, Alki's players were criticised by their coach for not working hard enough in the second half when they surrendered the game to Paralimni.

    Alki had taken the lead through Kondolefteros after only 30 seconds. Georgian Oudmandzuridze equalised before the break and gave Paralimni the lead from the penalty spot in the 75th minute. Nicolaou scored the third and in injury time Nigerian striker Lakki added the fourth. It was Paralimni's fifth away win of the season, taking them to eighth in the table.

    Goals by the two Marios gave Ael their fifth victory of the season and brought to an end Apop's run of three successive wins. Neophytou scored in the first half and Demetriou in the second to put the game beyond Apop.

    Today Apoel are at home to Aek, hoping to avenge their 3-2 defeat by the Larnaca club in their first meeting this season.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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