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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-05-19

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, May 19, 2000


  • [01] Many tanks for saving water...
  • [02] Turkish Cypriot opposition paper bounces back
  • [03] Government dismisses allegation of ‘Disy vengeance’
  • [04] Tourist panicked during police drugs raid
  • [05] Disappointed punters dump Laiki: big mistake, say brokers
  • [06] CSE too embarrassed to show visitors round bourse
  • [07] New Internet mobile phone service
  • [08] House VAT vote postponed again
  • [09] Police bust ‘betting shop’
  • [10] Foundry smoke closes school again
  • [11] Police draw blank on missing foreigners
  • [12] Going for a pint? Blood Week offers the chance of a lifetime...
  • [13] Alpha announces new General Manager

  • [01] Many tanks for saving water...

    NICOSIA Water Board has stressed the importance of putting stone-filled plastic bags in toilet tanks ahead of the summer drought to save household water.

    The initiative, adopted all over the world, was brought to Nicosia by Mayor Lellos Demetriades several years ago.

    And yesterday, Panayiotis Taheodoulies, technical manager of the Water Board, affirmed the project’s success.

    "The plastic bags reduce household water waste by 10 per cent and more than 50 per cent of Nicosia homes already use them. Last year, we delivered about 20,000 to homes all over Nicosia," he said.

    The water board supplies the bags, free of charge, to all who request them, and distributes them to schools and military camps as a matter of course.

    But to save even more water, the mayor continues to pursue plans to introduce household checks and £100 fines for those who do not use the bags.

    At the beginning of April he told the Cyprus Mail that "we’ll find ways and means" to enforce their use all over the city.

    But the water board said yesterday that people have no right to go into homes and investigate whether they are using them or not.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [02] Turkish Cypriot opposition paper bounces back

    By Jennie Matthew

    AVRUPA was back in circulation yesterday thanks to donations of enough equipment to roll out the newspaper less than 48 hours after ‘police’ and bailiffs stripped its premises on Tuesday afternoon.

    The bailiffs were sent in to pay off £3,000 (3 billion Turkish lira) in legal fees incurred by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in a libel suit against the newspaper and its editor, Shener Levent.

    On Wednesday, ‘Clerk of the Court’ Ruhsan Buraka said that if Avrupa paid the fees within three days, then its computer equipment and furniture would be returned.

    If not, then the goods would be sold at auction.

    Journalists on both side of the Green Line united in condemning Tuesday’s seizure as an affront to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

    Politis yesterday confirmed its offer to publish Avrupa journalists’ articles in its printed ands in order to uphold these principles.

    "We support, at every step, freedom of speech and freedom of information," said editor Andreas Paraschos.

    The Politis offer was passed on to Shener Levent, and a reply is expected today.

    Support for the Turkish Cypriot opposition newspaper has come from all sectors of society in the north.

    BASIN-SEN, trade union of press employees, launched a donations campaign to buy new equipment for the paper.

    The Organisation for the Security and Co-operation of Europe, OSCE, called upon the Turkish government to use its influence in the occupied areas to return the paper’s confiscated property immediately.

    Avrupa is well known for its criticism of the Denktash regime. In January, a Turkish military court prosecuted the paper and six of its journalists on charges of inciting "hate against the Turkish Cypriot state and undermined the security forces".

    Denktash’s lawyers had demanded that the paper pay $260,000 in damages for slander after it suggested he had had shady dealings with the British colonial authorities in the 1950s.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [03] Government dismisses allegation of ‘Disy vengeance’

    By Martin Hellicar

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday dismissed as unfounded the claims of outgoing Youth Organisation Chairman Andreas Taliadoros that he was railroaded out of re-appointment because of the vengeance of Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades.

    On Wednesday, Taliadoros charged that Anastassiades had "ousted" him because of his close links with Justice Minister Nicos Koshis.

    He claimed Anastassiades had it in for Koshis because the Disy boss held Koshis personally responsible for the current prosecution of his twin brother, Bambos Anastassiades, on charges of selling forged visas to cabaret artistes.

    "My co-operation with Koshis was considered a flagrant action to hurt Anastassiades, within the framework of a larger group that Anastassiades believes is working against him," Taliadoros alleged on Wednesday.

    But yesterday Papapetrou yesterday upended Taliadoros' claims, declaring he had been replaced at the Youth Organisation helm on Koshis' own recommendation.

    The Youth Organisation is a semi-governmental body under the aegis of Koshis' Justice Ministry.

    "The relevant minister, Mr Koshis, submitted a suggestion (about its chairmanship), and it was accepted unanimously by the Cabinet," Papapetrou told his daily news briefing.

    He said Koshis' recommendation concerned the whole Youth Organisation board, not just Taliadoros, adding that the Cabinet made no mention of Taliadoros when approving Koshis' proposal.

    Anastassiades, whose party is in government, has tersely dismissed Taliadoros's attack as "unworthy" of a reply.

    However, Disy spokesman Tassos Mitsopoulos was far more effusive in condemning Taliadoros yesterday: "The arguments he produced are entirely unsubstantiated -- I would go as far as to say they were fantastical," he said.

    Mitsopoulos called Taliadoros' claims an "insult" to common sense, adding that public figures had to accept their limited shelf-life, and should withdraw with dignity when replaced.

    In a news conference on Wednesday, Taliadoros said he was branded a "heretic" by Disy and its youth wing, Nedisy, because he had worked with Akel-dominated municipal authorities, had refused favours to Nedisy, and was not an ‘Anastassiades man’.

    He also claimed Disy was trying to take control of the Youth Organisation, and said Nedisy was against him because he had co-operated with left-wing youth organisation Edon.

    Nedisy leader Yiannis Ioannou yesterday said Taliadoros' claims that he was ousted for working with Edon were ridiculous, but confirmed the Disy youth branch had asked that he be replaced.

    "It is with great sadness that we see a young person reacting in this manner, perhaps just because his ambition has not been satisfied," Ioannou said.

    "Andreas Taliadoros was replaced because it has always been our position to have continuous renewal and to bring in new people into decision-making centres," Ioannou said, noting that Taliadoros had already served two terms as Youth Organisation head.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    <title>GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday dismissed as unfounded the claims of outgoing Youth Organisation Chairman Andreas Taliadoros that he was railroaded out of re-appointment because of the vengeance of Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades.</title>

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [04] Tourist panicked during police drugs raid

    A BRITISH tourist who bought seven Ecstasy tablets from a stranger in Ayia Napa's main square panicked when police rushed into his hotel's lobby in the early hours of the morning. Convinced they had come looking for him, he quickly threw the bag of tablets into a flowerpot – unaware that standing next to it was a plain-clothes police officer.

    This was the story recounted in a Lamaca courtroom yesterday after Kieran Dennis Hambly, a 23-year-old builder from Cornwall, had pleaded guilty to possession of the tablets. He will be sentenced today.

    His lawyer, Antonis Andreou, said Hambly had come to Cyprus with his girlfriend. He had never taken drugs before and had no previous convictions for any criminal offence.

    The couple had been drinking at pubs in the square when a stranger convinced him to buy the Ecstasy. Hambly, said Andreou, had kept all seven tablets in his pocket for three days since buying them because, after sobering up, he realised he had no desire to try the drug.

    Andreou noted that the defendant was originally suspected of being part of a British ring which had come to Cyprus to sell drugs. However, the police now accepted that he had no connection with any of the men they had come to his hotel to find and arrest.

    Hambly faces a long jail sentence, but Andreou argued that this was an unusual case and that any punishment should be in the form of a fine rather than imprisonment.

    Meanwhile in another Larnaca courtroom, two tourists from Whitchurch in Shropshire were remanded in custody for a further six days. John Paddington, 32, and Craig Dykes, 29, are alleged to be among those for whom the police had been searching.

    A third suspect from Whitchurch, Kevin O'Brian, 23, had appeared in the same court on Wednesday and was remanded for another eight days. Police have alleged that Paddington possessed 99 ecstasy tablets which he threw away as police chased the trio through Ayia Napa just over a week ago.

    A lawyer representing Paddington and Dykes told the judge that no charges had been preferred against his clients and there was no justification for a further remand. The judge disagreed.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [05] Disappointed punters dump Laiki: big mistake, say brokers

    By Michael Ioannou

    INVESTORS disappointed at no giveaways from Laiki Bank dumped shares on the bourse yesterday, pulling the market 2.65 per cent lower.

    The retreat was one of the sharpest seen on the market for the past four weeks, beat down mainly by losses in the banking sector and service companies.

    Market heavyweight Laiki was one of the main casualties of a broad sell-off, closing 3.15 per cent, or 42 cents down to £12.90 on 379,800 shares traded.

    Bank of Cyprus has usually borne the brunt of investor impulse, but it was a reversal of roles yesterday; contrary to the heavy sell-off in Laiki, BoC were down just 12 cents to a last trade of £8.30.

    Traders said blue-chip Laiki displeased some punters when it failed to deliver on speculation of giveaways at an annual general meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

    However they said the sell-off was unjustified. Trader Theodoulos Charalambides of Axxia-Plus said investors selling off were short-sighted and were ignoring signs that Laiki was poised to expand considerably in coming years. At the AGM the bank received shareholders' approval to issue 15 million new shares in capital which would fund future expansion.

    "They didn't read between the lines of what the chairman said. If they had they wouldn't have sold," said Charalambides.

    The bank is marking its centenary next year, and rumours that it would announce goodies at the AGM had the stock swinging madly for days.

    The all-share CSE index had 14.08 points knocked off to settle at 516.48 points. Traded value reached £30.8 million on 15.5 million shares traded.

    The index tracked a loss-making pattern throughout the 90-minute session, opening with losses of 1.6 per cent.

    Telia Aqua fish farm started trading yesterday, opening at £2.28, climbing to a high of £2.45, and closing on a last trade of £2.38. It was the second highest share traded, with 947,000 changing hands.

    Several traders questioned yesterday shrugged off the Laiki plunge as being short-lived, with good buying opportunities developing.

    "Many shares are now at attractive price levels... that Laiki did not announce anything on the date that investors expected it would means nothing," said Expresstock's Adonis Yiangou.

    Other sectors also suffered. The ‘others’ company index caved in by 4.49 per cent, dragged down by dumping on Louis, which fell 15 cents to £1.62, Globalsoft, which fell 21 to £5.57, Logicom, down 25 to £6.01 and Philoktimatiki, off 17 cents to £3.13.

    Trader Demetrakis Hailis of Hailisco said the market was showing signs of fatigue with new liquidity injections coming in very slowly.

    Some 91 companies in the waiting room for a bourse listing have absorbed around one billion pounds from the market, and with a bottleneck in processing their applications that liquidity remains elusive, he said.

    "The market is showing some signs of flagging," he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [06] CSE too embarrassed to show visitors round bourse

    OFFICIALS visiting Cyprus at the invitation of the Cyprus Stock Exchange next week won't be going to the bourse because authorities are "too embarrassed" at the state of it, its chairman admitted yesterday.

    "It is not a place we can show around," CSE chairman Paris Lenas told journalists.

    Cyprus is to host the annual national assembly of the Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA) from May 25-26. Guests from 28 bourses from around the world are attending.

    Bourse plans to move from cramped premises on Grivas Dighenis Aenue in central Nicosia to the IMC building in Latsia have been bogged down in red tape. The move was initially slated for March, but now it looks like June.

    Meanwhile, working conditions at the bourse are bordering on the unbearable.

    Bourse officials say that on some days there aren't enough chairs for people to sit on and lack of space has forced the CSE to rent shops on the ground floor below.

    And for a trading floor which attracts more than 100 dealers each day there is just one toilet.

    Lenas, who was giving his first news conference since assuming duties as CSE chairman last month, said hosting the ANNA conference would promote the bourse internationally.

    He said that the exchange was also considering introducing a derivatives market while officers from FTSE International would be in Cyprus in late May to prepare for the launch of a FTSE/CSE index.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [07] New Internet mobile phone service

    A NEW Cyta service gives subscribers direct Internet access through mobile phones, letting them electronically shop in one high street store while physically browsing in another.

    Activated in Cyprus on Wednesday, W@P (Wireless Application Protocol) technology allows a wireless connection to the World Wide Web through a phone equipped with a web browser and a larger-than-normal viewing screen.

    Previously, it was possible to access the Internet using a mobile phone, but one first had to call a special computer with Internet access. Furthermore, the screens on conventional mobile phones cannot show much beyond basic text.

    Current services include up-to-date stock and currency exchange figures, BBC online news, overnight pharmacies, electronic mail and an online directory.

    In theory, the range of services could expand to all data accessible through the Internet, although this data must be adapted to the reduced screen size of the W@P, which is much smaller than that of a typical computer.

    Aristos Riris, head of Mobile Telecom Services for Cyta, said he believes the introduction of W@P technology is a logical step in the telecommunications evolution, and that in the near future most mobiles will have this capability.

    He also said that, since it will now be possible to shop online via mobile phone, industry insiders are predicting a trend towards 'm-commerce', closely resembling the Internet consumer revolution known as 'e-commerce'.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [08] House VAT vote postponed again

    By Athena Karsera

    THE HOUSE plenum yesterday postponed yet again voting on the proposal to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by two percentage points, on the grounds that it ultimately has until June 1 as a deadline.

    Debate and voting on compensatory measures linked to the proposed VAT increase from eight to 10 per cent were also postponed until the next plenum, on May 25.

    Actual raised-hand voting did not take place when it became clear, when the postponement was suggested, that more deputies favoured the delay than opposed it.

    The main opposition party Akel proposed the one-week delay, and both Edek and Diko supported it. Disy and the United Democrats opposed the postponement, but were clearly outnumbered.

    Akel Parliamentary Spokesman Nicos Katsourides said his party wanted the delay not just for more talks but because two Akel MPs most involved in the VAT issue were overseas on parliamentary business.

    Katsourides also said talks on a new detail that arose yesterday - that of no VAT on certain products - should continue, along with other aspects of the issue before voting took place.

    He said the government only intended to implement the VAT changes from June 1, and that they would be retroactive anyway, so there was no real rush to vote.

    Disy Parliamentary Spokesman Panayiotis Demetriou said that despite the plenum preference for a delay, his party had been ready to vote on the issue before Easter.

    He cautioned that public perception was that MPs were not taking the issue seriously enough. "The people are prepared for the rise and for the compensatory measures," he said.

    Diko's Tassos Papadopuolos defended the frequent VAT vote postponements as soundly based: "Because it is House tradition to indulge a request for a postponement from the bigger parties, we will agree with the delay as long as no practical consequences are created," he said.

    The decision for another VAT vote delay followed meetings between party leaders, MPs, House President Spyros Kyprianou and Finance Minister Takis Klerides this week that continued until shortly before the plenum convened yesterday.

    Those meetings sought a consensus on the VAT rise and compensatory measures. The quest for such a consensus was the reason for the last two VAT vote delays, before the Easter break.

    The government wants to raise VAT gradually to 15 per cent so Cyprus will comply with European Union norms. The two-percentage-point rise is set to be a first step towards that.

    Klerides has said the government proposes returning about £47.2 million in tax breaks from the £62 million it expects to reap by raising VAT from eight to 10 per cent. The last VAT rise was in 1994.

    To offset the rise, the Cabinet has agreed to increase the tax-free income level and to make income tax brackets more taxpayer-friendly. Refugees with incomes lower than £10,000 per annum would also pay £300 less in tax, inheritance tax would be abolished, pensions would be raised, and the CyBC levy now pegged to consumers' electricity bills would end.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [09] Police bust ‘betting shop’

    POLICE have raided a suspected illegal betting shop in Ayios Dometios, catching 19 men who were allegedly wagering on games in England.

    All the purported punters were arrested at 7.20pm on Wednesday, booked and released, police said.

    The owner of the shop has been charged with organising the alleged illegal betting operation, and another man for allegedly acting as the establishment's bouncer.

    They said they also confiscated 45 television sets, one TV decoder, two TV antennae, two paper-shredders, 15 betting books, several leaflets on horse racing in England, 12 completed betting slips and £205 in cash.

    [10] Foundry smoke closes school again

    By Anthony O. Miller

    SMOKE emissions from the Nemitsas Foundry in Omonia, outside Limassol, once again forced the 8th Elementary School to send its pupils home early yesterday morning, parents and Health and Education Ministry sources said.

    Unlike previous early closures of the school because of the chemical-laden foundry smoke, the children did not require on-site medical treatment or hospitalisation, Bernadette Charalambous, mother of one of the children told the Cyprus Mail.

    But she said "they were vomiting, crying, and complaining of headaches" before the headmaster phoned the Ministry of Education and closed the school at 10am and sent the children home.

    Education and Health Ministry sources confirmed the closure.

    More than 50 pupils at the school needed medical treatment last November 11 after being stricken in the playground by toxins in smoke from the Nemitsas foundry. On October 14, 47 pupils were taken to hospital with symptoms of poisoning from the foundry's smoke. The pupils then also complained of headaches, dizziness and nausea. Some vomited in the playground.

    The emissions have provoked months of protests by parents of 8th Elementary School children and local residents, who want the foundry moved out of Omonia.

    The government's sole response so far has been to authorise the school to close when the smoke overcomes the pupils.

    But sources in the Health Ministry and Council of Ministers, who requested anonymity, confirmed yesterday that the Council on April 12 approved spending whatever money it takes to conduct medical tests on the schoolchildren and residents of Omonia who have complained about the smoke.

    The tests would be similar to those already approved by the Cabinet and in the early stages of undertaking in Ergates in the Nicosia district, where smoke from the Marios & Andreas foundry is suspected of poisoning residents, soil and vegetable crops with lead, cadmium and deadly dioxin.

    Dr Andreas Georgiou, Health Ministry public health chief, said yesterday that during Holy Week, two British epidemiological experts visited Cyprus for five days and met Ergates villagers before returning to Britain to design a study to determine if -- as suspected -- the villagers have been poisoned by foundry smoke.

    Two sets of blood and other tests by local epidemiologist Dr Michalis Voniatis have shown cancer rates, lead and cadmium poisoning and lung diseases among Ergates residents to be many times the national average. Voniatis has blamed this on the Marios & Andreas smelter's smoke.

    Villagers in Omonia yesterday again voiced fears that they too have been poisoned by lead, cadmium and dioxin they believe will show up in Health Ministry blood tests.

    Georgiou said that, despite the sick children in Omonia and the suspicions of blood-poisoning of Ergates villagers, "the only way I can close a factory... (is) for reasons of public health. This is why I am doing this research."

    The Labour Ministry, in a change in the law several years ago, acquired the Health Ministry's former jurisdiction over workplace safety and the effects on the environment of industrial activities.

    Where the Health Ministry might once have been able to close the foundries due to simple pollution of the environment or the actual workplace with lead, cadmium and dioxin, now only the Labour Ministry can do this.

    This leaves the Health Ministry with the daunting and expensive task of proving health damage to citizens from industrial processes before a suspected polluting factory can be closed, Georgiou explained.

    He said he expects the British experts to return to Cyprus on June 6 with a plan to begin testing the lungs and blood of Ergates residents for suspected poisoning.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [11] Police draw blank on missing foreigners

    By Noah Haglund

    NEITHER Interpol nor the Cypriot police have been able to turn up any new leads into two ongoing missing persons cases on the island.

    The high-profile cases both involve foreign nationals -- a Swiss graduate student and a Saudi multi-millionaire -- who went missing in separate incidents over the past 10 months.

    There has been no sign of Swiss Peter Rieder, 32, since he was last seen on July 29, 1999, at the house he rented in Agros village.

    At the time of his disappearance, he was conducting geological research in the Troodos mountains along with four other Swiss university students and their professor, who were the last people to see him at approximately 3am on July 29.

    The research team leader observed that Rieder had been deeply depressed shortly before his disappearance.

    A few days after he went missing, Rieder’s trainers were found, but police have been unable to uncover any conclusive evidence.

    On August 8, 70,000 ‘love messages’ were scattered over the village in the hope that one of them would reach the missing student.

    A police helicopter made the unusual trip after Rieder’s girlfriend, Noemie, made tearful pleas on television for him to come back.

    Each leaflet included a short note that read: "Dear Peter, I am in Agros. Don’t be afraid to contact people if you need help. I love you very much and want to be near you. I promise I will make sure that nothing happens to you. Noemie."

    Rieder is 1.84 cm tall, of regular build, with light-brown hair, a light beard and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing red shorts and a red T-shirt.

    His family has offered a £200 reward for any information leading to his return.

    Police suspect foul play in the case of the Saudi Arabian multi-millionaire who has been missing since mid-February this year -- they fear he may have been murdered.

    Relatives of Rakan Kalied Hathleen, 52, reported him missing on February 18 after he failed to contact them for several days. He had arrived on the island in January and lived in a rented a flat in Limassol with a Russian woman and her 20-year-old son.

    Police believe the two are from Uzbekistan and that they returned there after Hathleen’s disappearance.

    Reports suggest £70,000 was spent using Hathleen’s credit card following his disappearance.

    Cypriot police have enlisted Interpol to track down the Russian woman and her son in addition to an unidentified Pontian Greek thought to be have been involved in the millionaire’s disappearance.

    Hathleen is about 1.83cm tall, thin, with short black hair, a moustache and a dark complexion.

    Anyone with information on the disappearance or whereabouts of either man should contact the nearest police station.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [12] Going for a pint? Blood Week offers the chance of a lifetime...

    By Athena Karsera

    PEOPLE who have wanted to donate blood, but just never got around to it, will be able to do so during the 9th Annual Blood Donation Week.

    Events organised by the Blood Donation Enlightenment Co-ordinating Committee from Monday, May 22, to Sunday, May 28, seek to staunch fears and encourage people to give the pint that may save a life.

    According to the Committee, Blood Donation Week also intends to dispel some of the groundless rumours connected with donating blood, including some related to catching Aids or other diseases.

    To kick off the week, on Monday, cyclist Michalis Agrotis will ride from Paphos to Nicosia. He plans to begin at 10am at Paphos Court and finish at Ayios Dhometios Town Hall at about 7pm, with one stop in Limassol. A team of cyclists will join him as he enters Nicosia to escort him to the finish line.

    Blood Week's next high-profile event is set for noon on Thursday, when House deputies are scheduled to give blood at Nicosia General Hospital.

    On Friday, the Ayios Dhometios choir will perform during an award ceremony for those who have volunteered to raise blood donation awareness. President Glafcos Clerides, himself recovering from recent colon surgery, will attend the ceremony at 8.30pm at Nicosia's Municipal Theatre.

    On Saturday, those planning to make the Blood Donation March the following day, Sunday May 28, will also donate blood at Nicosia General Hospital.

    Besides adding to blood bank supplies, Blood Donation Week seeks to show people that giving blood is safe, and can even be done on the eve of a strenuous event, such as Sunday's march.

    Sunday marchers will start off at the Town Halls of the seven suburbs of Nicosia at 6pm and converge at Nicosia's Hilton Hotel at approximately 8.30pm. Carrying candles, the participants will continue on to Eleftheria Square, arriving about 9.30pm.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Friday, May 19, 2000

    [13] Alpha announces new General Manager

    ANDREAS Demetriades, the General Manager of Alpha Bank, takes over as Managing Director from June, the bank has announced.

    He will be replacing Eleftherios Ioannou who has been appointed Chairman and Managing Director of Alpha Bank in Romania. Ioannou, who had been the chief executive since 1990, will retain his seat on the board of the Alpha Bank in Cyprus.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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