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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-05-04

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 4, 2000


  • [01] Clerides advised not to attend NY talks
  • [02] Cyprus sex holidays on the net
  • [03] Report slams ‘sick’ appointments system for schools
  • [04] Dealers blame 4x4 tax for fall in car sales
  • [05] Time for America to pressure Turkey, says EU minister
  • [06] Beauty queens auction off heritage for charity
  • [07] Church welcome for ex-king a ‘provocation’ to the people of Greece
  • [08] April rains delay the onset of extra water cuts
  • [09] Who’s to blame for soldiers getting rotten meat?

  • [01] Clerides advised not to attend NY talks

    By Martin Hellicar

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides has been advised not to attend the UN-led proximity talks in New York later this month because of an operation tomorrow to remove a growth from his large intestine.

    Doctors said yesterday said that although polyps found in his intestine were "normal" for an 81-year-old man, and were thought to be benign, the president will still need up to eight weeks before he recovers fully.

    The third round of proximity talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had been scheduled to begin on May 23 B less than three weeks from now.

    Earlier yesterday, doctors said Clerides would be back on his feet within 15 days.

    The results of a biopsy will be known early tomorrow morning, after which the president will undergo the operation which is expected to take between 90 minutes and two hours.

    The intestinal polyps were discovered after Clerides was admitted to the Evangelistria private clinic in Nicosia for a routine health check on Tuesday.

    Yesterday morning, doctors there were saying Clerides would be discharged at lunchtime, as tests has turned up "nothing abnormal".

    But by midday the situation had changed, with Evangelistria specialists Akis Syrimis and Iosif Kasios issuing an announcement explaining that Clerides needed surgery Ato remove polyps in the large intestine. He will be in a position to resume his duties fully in the next 15 days".

    Even if the president had indeed been fit enough to attend the New York talks, much of the groundwork would have been affected anyway. Foreign envoys due to visit ahead of the third round have had to put their plans on hold. Clerides had also been due to go to Athens to see Greek Premier Costas Simitis on May 19.

    Presidential Under-Secretary Pantelis Kouros said Britain, the US and the UN had been notified to postpone upcoming pre-talks visits by their Cyprus envoys Sir David Hannay, Alfred Moses and Alvaro de Soto respectively.

    Tomorrow=s operation will be carried out by Dr George Kyriakides of the Paraskevaidion transplant centre and the director of the Evangelistria, Dr Andreas Constantinides.

    "The polyps appear to be non-malignant," Constantinides told the Cyprus News Agency yesterday. He added that the operation would be a "simple" affair.

    Clerides has no history of ill health. Evangelistria doctors said his heart is in excellent condition, and they also remarked on what a good patient Clerides was.

    "He takes his pills and listens to his doctors and is in a good mood," Dr Kasios said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [02] Cyprus sex holidays on the net

    By George Psyllides

    A UKRAINIAN website is advertising sex holidays in Cyprus with week-long packages offering teenage girls for the "discriminating gentleman".

    The Top Look Exotic Escort Service website advertises sex packages in Limassol, as well as cities in four other countries, with punters able to choose their girl from the Internet.

    Although the website’s English is decidedly rusty, what’s on offer is crystal clear.

    The service, the site said, had been created "to provide a place where discriminating gentlemen could find first class companionship at a realistic price."

    "The ladies can be the perfect complement for dinner dates, cultural events, evenings or days in town, formal occasions, weekends, vacations, sports, leisure and other adventurous activities or gala affairs," the site said.

    But other pages on the site say little of the escorts’ social or sporting skills, focussing rather on other ‘skills’ and exploits.

    Four girls – Nika (19), Sveta (19), Pauline (19) and Inga (20) - are listed along with their photographs, age, vital statistics, and what ‘services’ they are willing to provide.

    The price depends on how many days you wish to spend with the girl.

    A four-day tour will cost you $2,699 while a seven-day package will set you back $3,599.

    The price includes accommodation in an unnamed five-star hotel and plane tickets for the girls.

    The site also provides its clients with a feedback service where they can email and comment on the services.

    The Cyprus Mail found that "George" from Cyprus had expressed his unconditional approval of Inga.

    "Inga is the best," he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [03] Report slams ‘sick’ appointments system for schools

    By Athena Karsera

    DRASTIC changes have to be made to the current system of appointing teachers, the Educational Service Committee said yesterday.

    Presenting the Committee's annual report for 1999, chairman Dr Christos Theophilides said the ‘waiting list’ system for appointments and promotions was "sick and bland".

    Under the current system, graduates are put on a waiting list until a position in their field is open, a process which can take decades.

    Theophilides said this often meant positions went not to the best qualified candidates, but simply to the ones who had been waiting longest.

    But he added that despite the problems teachers were getting places in public schools at a younger age than before, with four out of five Greek teachers appointed before their 35th birthday.

    Other subject matters, however, remain problematic: chemistry teachers are appointed at an average age of just over 44, "the youngest being 38 and the oldest 51 years old," Theophilides said.

    Under the current system, qualified teachers therefore often end up teaching at private schools or giving private lessons, or leaving the field of education completely.

    Theophilides said efforts had to be made to keep only those really interested on the waiting lists, with the option of striking off candidates failing to attend refresher courses.

    They would always be able to reapply to be put on the list, he added, but they would go to the end of the queue, "which basically means they have very little chance of ever finding a place."

    Theophilides said his committee’s report had also highlighted the difficulty of providing experienced staff for distant rural schools.

    Remote schools had a high turnover of staff and were often little more than a "training ground" for new teachers, making it difficult to build up any kind of "school spirit".

    The committee chairman also said too many teachers were taking sick leave when they were not really ill, costing the state over a million pounds a year to provide substitute teachers. "In 1998, it cost us £1,159,485 and in 1999 £1,409,085."

    Theophilides said £737,000 had already been spent on substitute teachers in the first three months of this year and that at least another million pounds would probably be needed by the end of 2000.

    As to what could be done to improve the situation, Theophilides said his Committee's jurisdiction ended at pointing out the problems; it was up to other bodies, such as the Ministry of Education, to work on solutions.

    It’s not the first time that the Cyprus education system has been taken to task. A 1997 report by the UN’s education and culture body Unesco savaged teaching practices in local schools and singled out the ‘waiting list’ system as one of the many things that needed to change.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [04] Dealers blame 4x4 tax for fall in car sales

    By Martin Hellicar

    REGISTRATIONS of motor vehicles were down 14 per cent in the first three months of the year.

    Car dealers are blaming the drop in sales on the 20 per cent increase in the duty on four-by-four vehicles and on prospective buyers holding out for the May international trade fair.

    Department of Statistics figures released yesterday show that some 7,082 vehicles were registered in the first quarter of 2000, compared to 8,262 for the same period last year.

    Sales of private saloons were down 13.3 per cent to 4,071 cars, of which 58 per cent were used. Sales of motorbikes and goods vehicles were both down by 19 per cent.

    According to Christos Andreou, marketing manager for Honda importers Demstar, this slump can be largely attributed to the fact that the Nicosia international trade fair - with its special offer prices - is just around the corner.

    "People are waiting for the May trade fair, this is a very important factor that always drives sales down, in April in particular," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    He also said the imposition last year of a 20 per cent increase on the import duty on four-by-four vehicles had hit that section of the market hard.

    The Honda marketing manager also said the double-cabin truck market was about 20 per cent down, though he said he could not work out why.

    Another possible factor in the drop is that car dealers have reduced their imports because of unfavourable exchange rates for the Cyprus pound compared to the Japanese Yen and US dollar.

    Nevertheless, the government statistics show that Japanese cars, and used ones in particular, continue their total dominance of the market.

    Over half, or 3,941 of the 7,082 vehicles registered between January and March, were made in Japan, and 2,682 of these were used.

    Next in the league of local car sales is Germany, with 775, followed by France with 733, Britain with 435 and South Korea with 219.

    The most popular colour for recently registered saloon cars is silver while the most popular make is Toyota.

    The most popular colours for the 4,422 saloons (including taxis and hire- cars) registered between January and March this year were:

    Silver: 1009 cars

    Blue: 841 cars

    White: 769 cars

    Green: 545 cars

    Black: 411 cars

    Red: 320 cars

    Grey: 258 cars

    Gold: 103 cars

    Other: 166 cars.

    The most popular makes among the 4,071 saloon car sold in the first quarter of 2000 were:

    Toyota: 834

    Honda: 638 cars

    Mazda: 388 cars

    Mitsubishi: 360 cars

    Nissan: 272 cars

    Volkswagen: 182 cars

    Mercedes: 172 cars

    Peugeot: 155 cars

    Renault: 153 cars

    BMW: 150 cars

    Opel: 98 cars

    Daewoo: 82 cars

    Land Rover: 81 cars

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [05] Time for America to pressure Turkey, says EU minister

    VISITING Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama yesterday called on the United States to put pressure on Turkey to be more "constructive" over Cyprus.

    Gama, whose country currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency, said the EU had done what the US wanted and opened the door to Turkey. It was now Washington's turn to do its bit, Gama said.

    "Now it is time for the US, through its special relationship with Turkey, to argue also to Turkey the merits of having a constructive position regarding the Cyprus problem," Gama said.

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, sitting along-side Gama at a noon press conference in Nicosia, echoed what his Portuguese counterpart had said.

    "The US, as a country which can influence Turkey more than anybody else, should apply this influence to have a positive and constructive attitude in efforts to reach a settlement in Cyprus," Cassoulides said.

    President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are due to meet in New York on may 23 for a third round of UN-led proximity settlement talks.

    The US Ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, said from New York yesterday that US President Bill Clinton was keen to do all he could towards a settlement in Cyprus.

    Holbrooke indicated he might again get personally involved in Cyprus settlement efforts at some stage.

    The US diplomat was talking after meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Papandreou and Ismail Cem, in New York.

    Gama left the island yesterday afternoon after a two-day visit.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [06] Beauty queens auction off heritage for charity

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE MISS Universe National Gifts Auction, held in Nicosia on Monday night, raised thousands of pounds for the children's cancer charity Elpida.

    The auction is an annual Miss Universe event and is designed to show off the international diversity of the delegates' backgrounds, as well as raise money for charity.

    Each of the 79 delegates brought a gift from her home country, intended to represent their national heritage.

    For Vice President Paula Shugart, it is always a very special evening. "Some of the gifts are amazing, the girls really make an effort," she said.

    Among the offerings were an Australian Koala bear made from sheepskin, an exquisitely carved cedar chest made by a 10-year-old from Honduras and an original cowbell from Switzerland.

    Esi Acquah brought an ebony comb from Ghana, and she explained in detail its significance. Gold beads reflect gold mining in Ghana and the jewellery worn by virgins to indicate their fertility.

    Given the rich array on display, there was surprise that some were less appropriate - Miss Spain's gift from her richly cultured land, for example, was a plastic doll replica of her predecessor Miss Spain 1999.

    The auction was "silent". Bidders signed their names and placed their bids on a sheet of paper at the beginning of the evening.

    The papers were then collected up before the delegates and their guests sat down to a traditional Cypriot buffet supper.

    After dinner, the winners were announced and the successful buyers posed for photographs with the respective delegate before going on to pay for their gift.

    The Minister for Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Nicos Rolandis and his wife were present - seated at a table with current Miss Universe Mpule Kwelagobe.

    Mrs Rolandis bid successfully for the Danish lot - a porcelain sculpture of the Little Mermaid, national protector of Denmark. The Ministry of Commerce itself purchased three gifts: a Bob Marley clock from Jamaica, a three- piece table arrangement of shells from Turks & Caicos and an agate stone pen and paper holder from Uruguay.

    An official at the Ministry said it had not yet been decided where to display them, but that "we tend to keep presents in the Minister's office, or the permanent secretary's office".

    "We thought the event was very well organised and we were pleased with what we saw," she added.

    The highest bid was for the St Martin gift - a crystal Lalique vase, which fetched £670 - £270 above the minimum asking price.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [07] Church welcome for ex-king a ‘provocation’ to the people of Greece

    THE former King of Greece yesterday said Cyprus should look to the future with optimism.

    But around him the controversy over his visit continued unabated.

    A statement from the Social Democratic Movement said that the way senior clergymen had addressed Constantine as `Your Majesty’ went against public feeling on the matter.

    The statement said their behaviour was a "provocation to the people of Greece" who had voted against the monarchy in a referendum in 1974.

    The Church's action also came under fire from the Deok trade union, which said: "Constantine is a common person and we don't understand the enthusiasm and flag-waving by the Archbishop."

    The union concluded with a direct appeal to Archbishop Chrysostomos: "Your Holiness, you did not have the right to make this mistake, we are a proud and dignified people."

    Meanwhile, officials continued to keep their distance from the exiled former king yesterday as he visited the Eoka struggle memorial at the central prisons, the Green Line and the Ledra palace checkpoint.

    Leaving the Eoka memorial, Constantine signed the visitors' book `King Constantine’.

    The ex-monarch said he had been moved by the experience, "mainly because... they are from our generation and I remember at that time we all had the huge demonstrations (in Athens) shouting `Enosis’."

    He said the division of Cyprus was an unmistakable symbol of the violations of human rights, but added: "I believe we have to be optimistic and to look forward. And I am sure the future will be good for the Cypriots."

    The Greek monarchy was abolished by referendum in 1974 after a military junta in power in Athens destroyed itself by instigating a coup in Cyprus, triggering the Turkish invasion.

    Constantine has lived in exile since December 1967, fleeing to London when a counter-coup failed a few months after the military seized power.

    He has been stripped of his Greek citizenship and property rights but has never given up his claim to the throne.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [08] April rains delay the onset of extra water cuts

    By Anthony O. Miller

    HEAVY April rains have put on hold new water restrictions due to come into force yesterday, according to Water Development Department (WDD) Director Christos Marcoullis.

    Instead of the cutbacks expected yesterday, "we intend to increase" the water ration, Marcoullis said.

    "We didn't decide yet (by how much) because we are waiting for the last figures" from April's torrential rains to be tallied, he said. "We are still getting some water into the dams" from those deluges, he added.

    "Two rivers are still flowing - the Kouris and the Dhiarizos," he said. Both feed the Kouris dam. "These rivers can help us with water in the eastern part of Cyprus," he said.

    April skies dumped 64.5 millimetres of water onto the island, 216 per cent of the normal precipitation for that month, the Meteorological Service reported yesterday.

    The WDD had originally planned to give Limassol only a 38 per cent state water allocation this summer, down from 40.1 per cent of the available supply last year.

    Nicosia's share under the WDD plan rose to 46.6 per cent (from 44.6 per cent last year), while Larnaca got the remaining 15.4 per cent, close to its 15.3 per cent share last year.

    The new urban allocations were required not only to account for population differences, but because the drought has cut this year's rains to a mere 72 per cent of normal for the meteorological year.

    But the cutbacks set for the Limassol area were also seen by some as retribution for actions by deputies from the city in the House of Representative that killed plans to erect an emergency desalination plant in Zakaki, near Limassol.

    The failed winter rains have left state reservoirs 81.6 per cent empty.

    Meanwhile, Marcoullis said village committees would have to deal with complaints that the installation of extra water tanks by some people was preventing allocated water from reaching the water tanks of other residents' at higher elevations.

    In recent months, extra-large water tanks have proliferated in urban and rural areas, as residents try to hedge against expected water rationing by collecting as much water as possible on the days it flows in their areas.

    Villagers living on high ground in the Larnaca area have complained their neighbours' extra water tanks soak up all the water their committees or the Larnaca Water Board allows to flow, leaving them constantly water-short.

    Marcoullis said there was no law against extra tanks, and that the WDD had no plans to request any such legislation.

    He said he had suggested to local village water committees that they install "quantity limiters on the pipelines, which can limit the flow to those who are at the lower levels so that the higher houses can get enough water." But he admitted the devices were not mandatory.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Thursday, May 4, 2000

    [09] Who’s to blame for soldiers getting rotten meat?

    By George Psyllides

    A SPAT broke out yesterday between the Butchers' Association and the Milk Organisation over a batch of rotten meat supplied to the National Guard during Easter.

    The meat was found to be rotten just moments before it was cooked and served to feasting soldiers.

    Reports said that top state dignitaries, including President Glafcos Clerides, who attended an Easter feast at an army camp in the Larnaca district on Sunday, were among those who could have eaten the rotten meat had it slipped through the net.

    Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos said the House Defence Committee would meet today to discuss the issue, amid an exchange of fire between butchers and the milk organisation.

    Butchers' Association Chairman Costas Livadiotis yesterday claimed the milk organisation froze unsold meat slaughtered months ago and stored it for future sale.

    But the Director of the Milk Organisation, Andreas Marangos, refuted the allegations and challenged the butchers to prove their accusations.

    "Mr. Livadiotis should have investigated the issue before going public," Marangos said.

    "We have not frozen any meat in the last four years, not even a single lamb, " he said.

    "I declare this responsibly, as the director of the organisation," he added.

    Marangos further revealed that a specific butcher who supplied the National Guard with meat had bought 439 lambs one-and-a-half months ago, and 226 on April 21.

    The health services have found that the rotten meat came from that butcher, and he has been struck off the list of meat providers for the army.

    Defence Committee member and Akel deputy, Costas Papacostas, who blew the whistle on the rotten meat scandal, said yesterday that the committee would look into the whole procedure for meat provision, and take all necessary measures.

    Papacostas said he found out about the meat from a butcher in the coastal village of Zygi, in the Larnaca district.

    The butcher said soldiers from a nearby camp had asked him to cut their lamb for them.

    He said he immediately notified authorities.

    Health officers scrambled and searched army camps all over Cyprus for rotten meat.

    Twenty-eight hours later, the officers found and confiscated 1,860 kilos of meat that was unsuitable for consumption.

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