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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-12-31

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, December 31, 1999


  • [01] Gunfight in Xylotymbou
  • [02] Clerides briefs National Council on talks
  • [03] A quiet close after an extraordinary year
  • [04] Turks fine and release bus driver
  • [05] Talks to resume on Jan 31
  • [06] Forty per cent of Turkish Cypriots back two-state solution
  • [07] CY to carry out test flights on New Year's day before first passenger service
  • [08] Neophytou to chair Y2K meeting

  • [01] Gunfight in Xylotymbou

    By Martin Hellicar

    AN ARGUMENT over money led to a shoot-out between two Xylotymbou men in the main street of their village in the early hours yesterday.

    One of the gun-happy villagers ended up in hospital with shotgun pellets in his left eye. Both men - Panicos Panteli, alias Shioferos, and Costakis Andreou - were later arrested by police.

    The quiet Famagusta district village was rudely awakened just after midnight yesterday by the sound of gunfire.

    According to police, Shioferos, 40, and Andreou, 30, exchanged seven or eight shots with their hunting rifles after a row at a local taverna.

    Andreou was hit in the eye and was yesterday recovering under police guard at Larnaca hospital. Surgeons tried but failed to remove the pellets from his eye.

    Shioferos was brought up before the Famagusta District court, convening in Larnaca, at midday yesterday. The court later convened at the hospital to remand Andreou.

    Investigating officer George Economou told the court that the two men had been eating at a Xylotymbou taverna with friends and family when they got into an argument over money.

    Insults and threats were exchanged, Economou said, and then Shioferos drove off in his car while Andreou returned to his home, across the street from the taverna.

    But shortly afterwards, Shioferos drove up to Andreou's home and fired a shot at him as he stood on the balcony outside his home, the court heard. Andreou was hit in the eye. He nonetheless rushed indoors, grabbed his own rifle and fired back at Shioferos, Economou said. Seven or eight shots were exchanged, the court heard.

    After the gunfight, Shioferos drove off while Andreou was taken to hospital.

    A friend of Andreou's apparently took the shotgun off him and left. Police were yesterday searching for this friend.

    Economou said both Shioferos and Andreou were suspected of attempted murder, using a shotgun in a built-up area and threatening violence.

    Both men were remanded in police custody for eight days.

    Friday, December 31, 1999

    [02] Clerides briefs National Council on talks

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday briefed the National Council on the first round of proximity talks in New York.

    Speaking to reporters after the two-hour meeting, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the National Council would meet again on January 4 so that the party leaders could come back with their views on what Clerides had told them.

    "Members of the National Council asked questions to clarify certain issues and decided to continue the meeting on January 4," Papapetrou said.

    The first round of proximity talks took place in New York early this month, and the two leaders are due to resume the talks in Geneva at the end of next month.

    Meanwhile American ambassador Donald Bandler yesterday issued a New Year message "to the people of Cyprus".

    He said Greece and Turkey were on the road to increased cooperation "that will radiate throughout the region".

    "This reconciliation has not been easy," Bandler said. "The key has been dialogue and sustained public support for the hard work of negotiations. Events have shown that even in the most seemingly intractable situations, these ingredients make it possible to achieve peace".

    Bandler said that during the recent UN-led talks in New York, the US had noted that Cypriots were serious about the search for a negotiated settlement.

    "My everyday contacts with people here have shown that they yearn for the time when all Cypriots will enjoy a secure and prosperous future together," he said.

    "As we look forward to the New Year and the continued talks process, I have confidence that Cyprus will join Greece and Turkey, Ireland and the Middle East in showing that it is possible to settle differences and build a durable peace."

    Friday, December 31, 1999

    [03] A quiet close after an extraordinary year

    THE CYPRUS stock market came to a quiet close yesterday after a record-breaking year that has earned it a place among the highest performing bourses worldwide.

    Turning in an extraordinary return of 688 per cent by yesterday, 1999 saw the Cyprus Stock Exchange emerge from a backwater to a bourse whose showing has outperformed every market in Europe and the Middle East.

    By yesterday, the Istanbul stock exchange was trailing a distant second with a 506 percent returnthis year.

    Market capitalisation now exceeds 10 billion pounds, compared to a cap of little over one billion last January.

    Yesterday's close saw the market lower by 1.46 per cent to 713.97 points.

    Profit taking mainly by institutional investors preparing year-end results defied analysts' expectations of a rise following Wednesday's 5.25 per cent jump."Some investors were disappointed at this and this showed half-way through the session when they started selling. Overall, though, it was a positive session," one trader said.The market is expected to perform well next year, though it is unlikely to match the extraordinary feats of 1999, traders said."I do expect the market to do well. I am quite confident of that," said Yiannos Andronikou of Suphire Stockbrokers.The anticipated listing of the Bank of Cyprus in Athens, a major force behind this year's rally, and new listings and announcements expected on share capital of the Cyprus Popular Bank, which celebrates its centenary in 2000, will ensure the market does not run out of steam, said traders.Looking back at a year that saw investors ranging from middle level managers to housewives pumped their deposit accounts dry in the scramble to invest, traders said market players were expected to be more selective when it came to decisions on where to put their money."A more fundamental approach is appearing. Investors will no longer be buying shares under five pounds just because they are the cheapest ones on the market," said Stavros Agrotis of CISCO.Different forces will come into play next year. A wave of mergers and acquisitions in corporate Europe will filter down to Cyprus sooner or later, said stockbroker Costas Hadjigavriel.He said companies would be looking for opportunities to make use of their surge in prices andnewly-found wealth, possibly through acquisitions, and corporate spin-offs were also expected."There are big capitalisation stocks and the small ones. The small ones either have to get bigger or they will be swallowed up... I think this adjustment will happen at a very rapid pace because the money is here," he said.

    Friday, December 31, 1999

    [04] Turks fine and release bus driver

    By Martin Hellicar

    A GREEK Cypriot bus driver detained by the Turks on Wednesday was yesterday fined 77 by a 'court' in the north and released to return to the government-controlled areas.

    Unficyp spokesman Charles Gaulkin said 34-year-old Petros Vasili had been fined for "traffic offences" - driving in the north without occupation regime registration plates.

    He returned via the Ledra palace checkpoint in Nicosia at about 3.30 pm yesterday, Gaulkin said.

    Vasili had been detained by Turkish soldiers near the mixed buffer-zone village of Pyla, east of Larnaca, on Wednesday morning.

    Cyprus police said he had been apprehended after going to the Pyla-Pergamos area to pick up Turkish Cypriot workers and bring them south for work. The UN suggested Vasili had been detained after losing his way in the occupied areas.

    Speaking before Vasili's release yesterday, Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou described the detention as "illegal and unacceptable."

    Sources suggested yesterday that Vasili had been detained after driving around near occupied Pergamos in search of men to work on a construction site in the government-controlled areas.

    Gaulkin said Vasili, from Liopetri in the Famagusta area, had been examined by UN doctors and was fine. "He had no complaints," Gaulkin said.

    The pick-up Vasili drove to the north in was still being held by the Turks yesterday. Gaulkin said efforts were being made to have it returned.

    Tourists and locals captured after straying into the north have always been returned, usually after being fined for "illegal entry" by occupation regime courts.

    Friday, December 31, 1999

    [05] Talks to resume on Jan 31

    The UN announced officially last night that the second round of proximity Cyprus settlement talks would begin in Geneva on January 31, the CyBC reported.

    UN spokesman Fred Eckhard was quoted as stating in New York that President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would resume proximity talks at the Swiss capital's Hall of Nations.

    Friday, December 31, 1999

    [06] Forty per cent of Turkish Cypriots back two-state solution

    NEARLY 40 per cent of Turkish Cypriots support a solution to the Cyprus problem based on two independent states, according to a new poll in the north. A mere six per cent support a united Cyprus.

    The bizonal bicommunal federation being pushed by the international community is supported by only 28 per cent, while 14 per cent support confederation and eight per cent want annexation to Turkey.

    As regards EU accession, the poll reveals that the majority of Turkish Cypriots want to join the EU, with 74.6 supporting membership, even if Turkey is not a member.

    But 36 per cent favour accession only after a solution to the Cyprus problem and on condition that Turkey also becomes a member.

    Almost 10 per cent support the immediate accession of Cyprus, while 6.4 per cent oppose it totally.

    The poll noted that the majority of those who believed that Turkey's EU accession should precede that of Cyprus were aged over 45 and were supporters of the ruling National Unity Party (NUP) of 'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu, the Democratic Party (DP) of Serdar Denktash, son of the Turkish Cypriot leader, and the Nationalist Justice Party (NJP).

    Voters for the opposition Republican Turkish Party (RTP) of Mehmet Ali Talat and the Movement of Patriotic Union (MPU) tend to believe that a solution to the Cyprus problem would be sufficient for the island to enter the EU.

    Concerning the upcoming `presidential' elections in the north, 41.5 per cent say they will vote for the NUP, 17.4 per cent for the RTP, 17.1 per cent for the DP, 12.6 per cent for current coalition partners the Communal Liberation Party (CLP) led by Mustafa Akinci, and six per cent for the MPU.

    Friday, December 31, 1999

    [07] CY to carry out test flights on New Year's day before first passenger service

    Cyprus Airways said yesterday it would carry out two more test flights to double check the Y2K compliance of its aircraft and ground systems.A first test flight was successfully completed on December 6.Airline spokesman Tassos Angelis said all the company's systems were Y2K compliant, and CY also had assurances from aircraft manufacturer Airbus that there would not be any problems.The two test flights will be conducted on the morning of January 1, just before the airline's first commercial flight of the new century.The Cyprus Airways Chairman, directors, and other officials will be passengers on one of the two test flights."We are certain everything is all right, and we want to convey our certainty to the travelling public," said Angeli.The last Cyprus Airway flight to Larnaca will be at 8.30 pm on New Year's Eve, and the first one out will be at noon the next day.Angeli said the airline's staff would have ample time to re- check the systems and gather information from around the world.A team of 70 engineers and other staff will be on duty that night checking all the systems.The company will have an open line with the International Airline Association, which will send information and briefings about conditions around the world.We expect all airports at our destinations to be ready to receive our flights, said Angeli."If they are not, the flight will be cancelled. We will not risk the lives of our passengers and personnel," he added.

    Friday, December 31, 1999

    [08] Neophytou to chair Y2K meeting

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday chaired a meeting on the millennium bug and any problems that may arise from the transition to the next century.

    After the meeting, Neophytou said all the parties concerned had reviewed the measures taken to deal with the bug.

    He said operation centres had been set up by all vital services to deal with any eventuality.

    He noted that the crucial time for local services, like traffic lights or hospital equipment, would be between 11 pm tonight and one am on January 1, while for air traffic control it would be at 2am because it is adjusted to Greenwich Mean Time.

    Neophytou reiterated the government's decision to be on stand-by during the crucial period so as to coordinate the services and deal with any problems.

    "The authorities should be on alert so that Cypriot citizens can sleep peacefully and with security," Neophytou said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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