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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-05-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, May 13, 2000


  • [01] Anti-corruption law is unconstitutional
  • [02] Socialist workers and old ladies unite against Miss Universe
  • [03] Donald Trump forced to cancel Miss Universe visit
  • [04] Divorces up as social change puts the family under pressure
  • [05] Overdoses on the rise as more try heroin
  • [06] LTV beats off Mega bid for live cup final coverage
  • [07] Journalists’ union hits back at pilots
  • [08] Market drifts slightly lower in mixed trading
  • [09] Britons arrested after ‘poolside bust-up’
  • [10] Government backs down on ID card chip

  • [01] Anti-corruption law is unconstitutional

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE SUPREME Court has ruled that an anti-corruption law forcing public figures to declare their assets is unconstitutional.

    It took the House of Representatives six years to approve the law, but it has never come into effect, President Clerides having challenged it before the island's highest court shortly after it was approved by the House plenum in June last year.

    Supreme Court president George Pikkis yesterday announced that the court had ruled that a number of the law's provisions violated the constitutional right to privacy.

    House President Spyros Kyprianou said the House would respect the court decision but also indicated an attempt would be made to pass a revised version of the bill.

    The law made it mandatory for the President, Ministers, deputies and top civil servants to declare their personal wealth upon taking office and provide regular updates to a watchdog committee. This obligatory declaration of wealth also applied to top officials' spouses and children. Thanks to a last-minute amendment to the bill, the asset declaration rules also applied to the owners and chief editors of newspapers, magazines and television and radio stations.

    Pikkis said the law violated article 15 of the constitution, which refers to an individual’s right to privacy.

    "The property of an individual forms part of his private life and the revelation and control which the law provides for property constitute a violation of the right to privacy," the Supreme Court decision stated.

    Kyprianou reacted by saying some form of anti-corruption law was a necessity. "We must have such a law," the House President said.

    "Certainly, the only course of action open to us is to respect the Supreme Court decision, but the legal affairs committee will begin a study of the points declared unconstitutional and there could be a fresh effort on the whole issue," Kyprianou said.

    The chairman of the House legal affairs committee, Disy parliamentary spokesman Panayiotis Demetriou, blamed the unconstitutional nature of the law on deputies giving in to populism.

    "I must say the legal affairs committee and the House in general considered the whole issue under populist pressure, which is what brought these results," Demetriou said.

    When the law was approved last June, many deputies protested that the plenum had approved a law it knew to be unconstitutional solely in order to appear to be doing something to fight corruption. Public concern about corruption in high places was heightened last year by a series of high- profile corruption scandals involving state officials.

    Yesterday's Supreme Court decision is the latest twist in the years old saga of the anti-graft bill.

    The bill was first tabled before the House in October 1993. It was then re- worked by the legal affairs committee and, after many delays and postponements, was finally approved by the plenum on June 10, 1999.

    There were so many amendments to the bill in the plenum debate before the final vote that Demetriou - the bill's main backer - was one of the few to vote against.

    On June 30, 1999, the President exercised his right to send it back to the House, claiming it was unconstitutional. The House plenum stuck to its guns and approved the law again, without amendment, on July 8 last year. Clerides then challenged the law before the Supreme Court.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [02] Socialist workers and old ladies unite against Miss Universe

    THE FAR-left and the ultra-religious both staged protests against the Miss Universe pageant last night as the contestants warmed up ahead of the final contest in the early hours of this morning.

    A group of about 30 socialist workers (a splinter group of the former Edek party) demonstrated outside the Eleftheria stadium in Nicosia as beauty queens went through their dress rehearsal before an eager crowd inside the stadium.

    Meanwhile, on the hill overlooking the stadium, about 40 churchgoers and their priest began a vigil in protest against the "evils" of the Miss Universe contest.

    The socialist workers unfurled large red-and-white banners denouncing the government for spending more on the pageant than on education. The demonstrators staged a mock pageant, with one woman protestor parading around in a set of old curtains.

    Things were far more sedate on the pre-fabricated church of Ayios Panteleimonos on the hill above. Father Tellos and his 40 devotees, mostly old women, solemnly began what they planned to be a 10-hour vigil, to last until the Miss Universe final ended in the earl hours today.

    Father Tellos organised the vigil to pray against the "anti-biblical" messages of the pageant.

    The Church has denounced the Miss Universe event as superficial escapism that deflects attention from the suffering caused by the Cyprus problem.

    The pageant’s champion, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis, has dismissed such criticisms. He has countered that scantily clad women are the norm on the island's beaches and that some of them stay in hotels owned by the Church.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [03] Donald Trump forced to cancel Miss Universe visit

    By Jennie Matthew

    DONALD Trump was unable to attend the Miss Universe final held in the Eleftheria Stadium at 4am this morning, due to "unforeseen urgent business".

    Trump has been expected to fly into Cyprus yesterday, but instead sent a letter of apology to Nicos Rolandis, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, chairman of the pageant on the island.

    "I am disappointed and deeply regret this change in plans. I had been very much looking forward to this event, exploring your lovely country and more importantly meeting with you again," wrote Trump.

    American business tycoon Donald Trump bought the Miss Universe corporation two years ago. It is under his aegis that the beauty pageant has been "redefined" in order to embrace women's intelligence as well as their physical attributes.

    It will be the first Miss Universe final that Trump has not attended since becoming its president in 1998.

    Worries were raised at the beginning of the week about ticket sales for the live telecast final, set to be broadcast to millions of viewers worldwide.

    Top price tickets at £100 sold out three weeks ago, but in the last two weeks DeLeMa slashed ticket prices to as little as £10 pounds for students and soldiers.

    Remaining tickets, originally priced between £50 and £90 were reduced to £15 for members of the public.

    DeLeMa refute claims that ticket prices were dropped because so few seats had been sold.

    Instead, they said they lowered prices after the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism complained they were too expensive for most Cypriots.

    "Ticket sales have gone very well in the last week, but it’s hard to say how many we've sold until the last minute, because there will be tickets sold on the door," said a public relations spokesman at DeLeMa, the Nicosia based company responsible for the pageant’s marketing on the island.

    Trump's absence was announced as the panel of seven celebrity judges for last night's proceedings touched down at Larnaca.

    Miss Universe says it is its policy to book an informed and educated line up of judges who have made valuable contributions to a wide variety of professions.

    This year's hand-picked bunch include American Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Tally, "author and positive thinker" Antony Robbins, supermodel Kim Alexis, actors Christian de la Fuente, Catherine Bell, Debbie Allen and MTV presenter Serena Altschul.

    Music interludes were due to be provided by Elvis Crepo, saxophonist David Koz and Cypriot sensation Anna Vissi, while the final was anchored by famous American comic Sinbad.

    The contest is being held at 4am to coincide with American prime time viewing slots.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [04] Divorces up as social change puts the family under pressure

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE number of couples getting divorced every year has almost tripled over the last 10 years.

    Nicos Moushiouttas, the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, told a news conference in Nicosia yesterday that 851 divorces had been issued in 1997, compared to 326 in 1987.

    Moushiouttas was speaking ahead of Monday’s International Family Day.

    The minister said the problems faced by families were growing rapidly because of the transitional period Cyprus society was going through.

    "Figures on sexual harassment and violent attacks within the family are worrying, as are those for divorce and problematic family," he said.

    He said state services were aware of 1,698 "dysfunctional families" in Cyprus, affecting 3,500 children, adding that about another 5,000 children now came from broken homes.

    Moushiouttas said that, as well as the growing number of single parent families, Cyprus was having to come to terms with a new phenomenon, that of new families emerging from the remarriage of divorcees, with children growing up with a parent that is not there own. These were all relatively new phenomena for a place like Cyprus, and state and society had to find appropriate responses to them.

    Contemporary problems of drugs, crime and sexual harassment were also affecting families and leading to a weakening of family values.

    The Minister said the Cabinet had decided to set up a special committee, which would conduct further research on family problems and needs. Former Education Minister Kleri Angelidou will head the committee.

    Moushiouttas said he also wanted to establish a family advice service, where troubled children or parents can turn to for professional advice.

    But he added legislation would be needed for such a move, as there is currently no framework for such an organisation.

    Statistics show the main causes for family break-up are extra-marital affairs, mismatched parents and mixed marriages.

    "A lot of mixed marriages do not work out because of the differences in customs, religion and mentality," Moushiouttas said.

    The International Day of the Family was established by the United Nations in 1993 in an effort to raise awareness about the multiple problems facing families and the need for state and non-governmental agencies to support families and help them tackle their problems.

    "The state as well as the local authorities, the Church and other non- governmental organisations must stand by families and help them out in those difficult times," said the minister.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [05] Overdoses on the rise as more try heroin

    By George Psyllides

    HOSPITAL casualty departments are treating many drug overdose cases that go unnoticed by the public, Dr. Kyriacos Veresies of the Kenthea drug rehabilitation centre said yesterday.

    Veresies told the Cyprus Mail there had been a significant rise in heroin use in the past three to four years and there were now 100 known addicts who were seeking help.

    His comments came after a 21-year-old drug addict was rushed to hospital in a coma on Monday. The case attracted a certain publicity, but most are just treated in emergency rooms and people never hear about them, Veresies said.

    Police have arrested a 32-year-old Nicosia man in connection with the case.

    Michalis Glykeriou, alias Glikis (sweetie), was remanded in custody for eight days on Thursday, suspected of selling heroin and other drugs.

    Police told the court they had information that drug users frequented the suspect's house and bought from him.

    Monday's overdose victim told police after recovering that a relative of Glikis had injected him with heroin in a back room at the suspect’s home.

    Police searched the room and found an undisclosed quantity of white powder, several used syringes, and other instruments.

    In the house, police found 10 grams of powder believed to be heroin cut in doses.

    An address book belonging to the suspect was taken by investigators, who are now looking into the names and phone numbers of various people named inside.

    The number of heroin users has increased steadily according to Veresies.

    He said it was a predictable development, since 10 per cent of ‘soft’ drug users gradually move onto harder drugs.

    "Hashish is the first to put you in the drug circuit," said Veresies.

    "A person then tries heroin three or four times and they are hooked because their body begins to need it," he added.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [06] LTV beats off Mega bid for live cup final coverage

    AFTER intense backstage horse-trading, pay television channel LTV has won the rights for live coverage of today’s Cyprus football cup final.

    The right to broadcast the game live has cost the company £32,000, which will be split in half by the two competing Nicosia clubs, Omonia and Apoel.

    The deal was announced yesterday. Club officials had earlier denied they were engaged in any kind of negotiation to air the game live.

    On Thursday, Apoel Chairman Christos Triantafyllides denied granting the rights for the game to television stations.

    But behind the smokescreen, the two clubs were apparently weighing up proposals from CyBC, Mega, and LTV.

    Reports said the three channels had made their bids to the clubs in sealed envelopes.

    Mega was apparently ahead with £30,000, then came LTV with £22,000, and CyBC with £18,000.

    Mega had almost secured the deal but the station's insistence to change the time of the final gave LTV the time to return with a higher offer.

    According to reports, Mega wanted to change the time of the game from 7.30pm to 9pm.

    Meanwhile, the bids had been leaked, giving LTV the chance to counter with a £32,000 bid to broadcast the game live in its original 7.30pm slot.

    Around 40,000 subscribers will have the chance to watch the game live, while another 23,000 people will pack the new GSP stadium for the game.

    By Thursday night, the clubs said they had sold more than 21,000 tickets of the 23,000 available.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [07] Journalists’ union hits back at pilots

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE Cyprus Airways pilots’ union Pasipy has lashed out at journalists, accusing them of bribery and dishonesty after reports that CY pilots and air stewards feigned illness.

    On Monday, an article in Alithia claimed that endemic "illness" among Eurocypria flight staff caused severe delays and wreaked financial havoc on the charter company - a subsidiary of the national carrier.

    The report stated that a total of 68 staff members had called in sick over the Easter weekend - 31 on April 29, and 37 on April 30.

    During the entire Spring holiday period, when the number of tourists coming to Cyprus swelled by 90 per cent, the paper said a total of 100 Eurocypria aircraft staff called in sick - 13 pilots and 87 cabin crew.

    An air stewards' spokesman defended the validity of the higher than usual number of sick days over the holiday period, saying an increase in the number of flights meant staff worked longer hours and were therefore more susceptible to tiredness and health complaints.

    But Pasipy denounced the article as a "huge slander campaign against Pasipy and the chairman of Cyprus Airways".

    They went on to accuse "groups of journalists employed at known rags" of misconduct. Their "professional competence and objectivity are under question," the union said, and it is "known how easily these are bribed to promote pernicious arguments against the best interests of Cyprus Airways."

    The Union of Cyprus Journalists yesterday fought back, slamming the union's allegations.

    "This is a brutal and unacceptable attack against the press and freedom of expression. We urge those who wrote the statement either to prove their accusations or retract them."

    Pasipy spokesman George Charalambous yesterday declined to comment on the Journalists’ Union's challenge.

    "It’s a delicate and sensitive matter, and I would not like to make any further comment at this stage," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    Cyprus Airways refused to discuss any matter relating to personnel without management approval.

    But Alithia claimed the company was hushing up the sick leave scandal in the fear that labour relations would collapse.

    Last year, CY management accused Pasipy of feigning illness just to cause problems for the airline.

    In 1999, two summer Pasipy strikes crippled flights in a battle to secure a Eurocypria vacancy for a CY pilot.

    And Pasipy's slamming of the media comes amidst a new spat between the pilot's union and Eurocypria over captain's jobs.

    There are currently nine new captain's vacancies at Eurocypria. A CY proposal, supported by chairman Haris Loizides, wants six to be filled by CY pilots - despite an arbitration ruling last year that threw out Pasipy's claims to Eurocypria captain positions.

    The chairman's support sidesteps a Eurocypria pilots’ agreement that states all captains have to have at least three years’ experience with the charter company.

    CY says there are insufficient captain's vacancies at CY, and that although Eurocypria is technically a separate company, they have a right to apply for the posts as members of the parent company.

    But embarrassed by Pasypi's stance, the CY chairman yesterday distanced himself from the union's criticism of the media.

    "Chairman Mr Loizides and Cyprus Airways condemn the allegations against journalists and newspapers," a spokesman said.

    The Alithia reporter who wrote the story refused to comment on Pasipy's attack.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [08] Market drifts slightly lower in mixed trading

    By Michael Ioannou

    SHARE prices fell 0.2 per cent yesterday on a mixed pattern of trading with trading volumes absorbed by a rally on investment stocks Kyknos and Aiantas, which both exceeded a one million share turnover.

    The CSE benchmark drifted 1.11 points lower to 552.41 points, paring a stronger open of 554.19 and a market that started losing ground in the opening minutes.

    Traded values reached £33.2 million, some five million less than on Thursday andon 17.8 million shares traded.

    "The market moved in close range, but there was some nervousness detected when the index rose initially but then fell on profit-taking," said a trader. "Traded values were slightly off, but that is not an issue at all," he added.

    Of 108 stocks traded, 56 retreated and 40 advanced, with 12 unchanged. There were 7,789 deals.

    Banking stocks led advancing sectors with a 0.35 per cent climb, fuelled by more speculative buys in Laiki Bankahead of its annual general meeting next week.

    The stock rose 13 cents to £14.10. Bank of Cypruswas up two cents to £8.51, scaling back from an intraday high of £8.57.

    In the investment sector, Kyknos gained one cent to 89 on a turnover of 1.57 million shares, while Aiantas slipped marginally to 41.1 cents on a turnover of 1.2 million shares.

    Third largest mover was Droushia, which continued to slip after a recent rally sparked by rumours of acquisitions. It slipped three cents back down to £1.01.

    Co-op firm Demetra remained under pressure on the marker, slipping one cent to a last trade of 96 and falling to an intraday low of 90 cents at one point.

    Traded volumes were 375,138 shares.

    Avacom Computer Services due back on the market yesterday pending a bonus issue, will remain suspended until May 22, the bourse announced yesterday.

    It also suspended Ceilfloor, the firm Avacom has mounted a public bid to buy. The bourse said the move was in the interests of investors.

    However, those who sniffed a deal discounted it before it was announced. The stock hit a year high of £4.69 on Wednesday, one day before Avacom made its announcement.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, May 13, 2000

    [09] Britons arrested after ‘poolside bust-up’

    TWO British tourists allegedly attacked and beat up two Anglo-Cypriot tourists at an Ayia Napa hotel swimming pool yesterday.

    According to a police report, the two British men, aged 21 and 23, attacked brothers Stelios and Kyriacos Stylianou, 25 and 28, at the Mari Napa hotel yesterday morning. The two brothers, who live in England, told police they needed hospital treatment after the assault by the hotel swimming pool.

    Police arrested the two Britons. The suspects were later charged with assault and released to appear before court at a later date.

    [10] Government backs down on ID card chip

    THE government has bowed to Church pressure not to include a microchip on the new identity cards.

    Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou announced the decision yesterday after a meeting with the Bishops of Kyrenia and Morphou.

    The government had hoped the chip could eventually store additional information such as social security, driving licence or passport details. The Church condemned the plan as a breach of civil liberties that degraded the individual.

    The Kyrenia and Morphou bishops expressed their satisfaction at the minister's decision.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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