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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-06-27

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Tuesday, June 27, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Denktash calls talks into question again
  • [02] Government to push ahead with EAC privatisation
  • [03] Market swings up and down but ends up flat
  • [04] Government plans to make rear seat belts compulsory
  • [05] Police probe finds no evidence in ‘paramilitary’ case
  • [06] Motorway closed after horror crash
  • [07] Pair survives collision with liner

  • [01] Denktash calls talks into question again

    By Jean Christou

    AN OFF-THE-cuff remark by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday threw the future of the third round of proximity talks into doubt.

    Speaking after a one-hour meeting with US presidential emissary Alfred Moses in occupied Nicosia yesterday morning, Denktash refused to confirm outright whether he would be attending the Geneva talks next week.

    A minute earlier, Moses emerged from the meeting saying he was looking forward to the third round.

    "We had good talks, a frank intense talk, which will hopefully turn out to be a productive talk. I’ll be looking forward to the third round," Moses told journalists from both sides.

    Replying to questions, Moses said he could not say whether the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides would be in Geneva for the talks.

    But after the US envoy had left and before turning to go back to his office, Denktash, responding to questions on whether he would attend the talks, said: "We don’t know yet if there will be a third round."

    Denktash is angered at the UN Security Council’s decision earlier this month to drop an addendum to the renewal of the Unficyp mandate, which would have registered the Turkish Cypriot side’s approval of the force on the island.

    The UN made its decision after bowing to pressure from the Greek Cypriot side, which said it would not give its permission for Unficyp’s mandate to be renewed if the addendum was included.

    Denktash has threatened to pull out of the talks over the issue, or to reconsider co-operation with Unficyp in the north. Last week, however, he indicated he would go.

    Asked before his meeting with Moses whether any decision had been taken over Unficyp, Denktash said he was still "working on it".

    Earlier yesterday, Moses met President Clerides for an hour-long working breakfast. In a short statement after the meeting, Moses said he saw no obstacles on the road to Geneva. "None whatsoever for us," he said. "We are looking forward to it."

    Commenting on Denktash’s statement later yesterday, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said he believed the Turkish Cypriot side would attend the talks in spite of what Denktash said.

    He said President Clerides had made it clear to foreign envoys that no attempts should be made to appease Denktash in the hope of gaining a more conciliatory position at the talks.

    "Mr Denktash is free to make his own decisions about participating in the talks or not. Nobody can force him to attend, but everyone will have to undertake his responsibilities," Papapetrou said.

    "In any negotiation to reach some agreement, the two sides have to make some compromises in certain issues. The last compromise the government has made is to have accepted a federal solution."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Tuesday, June 27, 2000

    [02] Government to push ahead with EAC privatisation

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE GOVERNMENT wants to push ahead with privatising the Electricity Authority (EAC) this autumn, albeit with the state as the main shareholder.

    If the Cabinet gets its way, then the telecommunications sector will be liberalised at the same time.

    Communications & Works Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday announced that a relevant bill would be tabled before the House of Representatives "by September at the latest".

    If the bill privatising the EAC is approved by the House plenum, the authority will no longer be a semi-governmental organisation.

    A bill to liberalise the telecommunications sector will be presented to parliament at the same time, Neophytou said.

    Speaking after a morning Cabinet meeting, the Communications Minister said the plans to privatise the EAC would still mean the government holding on to most of the shares, with EAC employees being offered the option of also buying into the service.

    Neophytou said privatising the EAC and liberalising the telecommunications sector were necessary if Cyprus was to come into line with European Union norms.

    But the government’s argument in favour of liberalisation and privatisation is unlikely to impress main opposition party Akel.

    Akel have already denounced the plans as an "assassination" of the semi- governmental sector. The left-wing party argues that semi-governmental bodies like the EAC and the Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) should be protected from competition.

    Responding to Akel criticism yesterday, the Minister insisted that liberalisation would give citizens an opportunity to choose between different service providers, which, the Minister argued, was a "citizen’s right".

    Neophytou charged Akel with acting in a "stubborn" manner and refusing to move with the times.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 27, 2000

    [03] Market swings up and down but ends up flat

    By Michael Ioannou

    SHARE prices ended fractionally softer yesterday after strong intraday pressure, which swung shares between losses of 1.3 per cent and gains of 2.5 per cent, with the market unable to sustain either. Trading was generally directionless on the lack of any concrete news on the corporate front, but the market's support level of 500 was holding strong.

    However, a general weakness in shares, which has been filtering though in recent sessions, was attributed partly to monies being withdrawn from the secondary market and into initial issues.

    "More than 100 companies are in the wings waiting for a listing," explained stockbroker Demetrakis Hailis of Hailisco.

    The deadline for Multichoice's IPO of 5.6 million shares going at 46 cents apiece expires tomorrow, while Muskita Aluminium and Jumbo investments held their IPOs last week for 1.5 million and 812,000 shares respectively.

    The CSE all-share index ended 0.23 per cent weaker at 495.67 points, swinging between a dip of 489.27 and a high of 503.02.

    "The market is showing strong resistance at 500 points.... for investors this level is a number which sets alarm bells ringing," said Landmark's George Trypatsas.

    The market opened with losses of 1.3 per cent but quickly recouped in the opening 20 minutes, only to start u-turning down for the remainder of the session as some investors made a hasty exit with their intraday gains.

    In spite of initial forecasts of a comeback to heavyweight banks, smaller cap stocks continued to dominate the day's trading.

    Pierides Electrical scored one of the highest gains with a 7.3 per cent share price jump to £1.92 on trading worth £3.5 million. It topped trading ranks with 1.8 million shares changing hands.

    Aiantas followed with a turnover of 1.6 million, edging up fractionally to 37.4 cents.

    Turnover was some six million pounds lower than on Monday at £33.6 million and on 7,884 deals, also lower.

    Dealers said turnover volumes were affected because of the absence of shares, which had in recent sessions attracted a lot of activity.

    Cyprus Airways, Dodoni and Frindlays have been briefly suspended from trading by the market owing to a backlog in settlement caused by strong speculative dealing in the paper.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 27, 2000

    [04] Government plans to make rear seat belts compulsory

    THE COMMUNICATIONS Ministry wants to make the wearing of a seat belt obligatory in the rear seat of a car. It also plans to hike fines for failure to wear a seat belt, using a mobile phone while at the wheel or riding a motorbike without a helmet from the current £30 to £50.

    Relevant bills have been hammered out by the Ministry’s Road Safety Council, which believes such measures could cut the island’s sky high road death rate by a quarter by the year 2005.

    The bill enforcing the use of rear-seat safety belts is expected to be approved swiftly by the Cabinet and to go before the House of Representatives plenum for approval next Thursday, July 6.

    The steeper fines for traffic offences are seen as the only way to force local drivers to abide by the law when it comes to seat-belts, helmets and driving with both hands free.

    Police statistics concerning road accidents suggest local drivers are loath to fasten their seat belts or don their helmets.

    Some 70 per cent of people killed in road accidents were not wearing seat belts and an identical proportion of motorbike riders killed on the roads were not wearing helmets at the time of the fatal accident.

    The government and House have already demonstrated a desire to make road safety laws tougher. A points system for offending drivers has already been approved by parliament and comes into effect on New Year’s Day next year. Under the new system, drivers accumulating 12 driving offence points on their licences will have them suspended by the courts.

    Cyprus has the third highest road death rate in Europe. Fifty-six people have lost their lives on the island’s roads so far this year.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 27, 2000

    [05] Police probe finds no evidence in ‘paramilitary’ case

    By Melina Demetriou

    THERE is no evidence to prove the involvement of any National Guard officers or Disy party members in a clandestine paramilitary secretariat, according to the results of the police investigation ordered by Attorney- general, Alecos Markides.

    But military investigations will be launched into the involvement of two officers at the centre of the claims.

    Markides ordered the police investigation following allegations by left wing Akel Deputy Costas Papacostas that a paramilitary secretariat had been tasked by Disy to keep tabs on the political persuasions of National Guard officers with the aim of ensuring favourable treatment for Disy men.

    A parallel Defence Ministry investigation carried out last month found there was no clandestine secretariat.

    The police investigation focused on the examination of documents that army officer Avraam Marangos said he had found on Sergeant Loizos Fessas, outlining the structure of the alleged secretariat.

    But Markides told a news conference yesterday that the police investigation had not been able to prove there was any connection between the officers the documents name as members of the secretariat and such an organisation.

    However, an internal army investigation will examine the role played by Fessas and Marangos, the Attorney-general said.

    There is considerable discrepancy between the two men’s versions of events.

    Fessas insists that only one of the documents -- allegedly found by Marangos in the envelope he was carrying -- was actually his and that he had never laid eyes on any of the others, which outlined in detail the structure of the so-called secretariat.

    Marangos on the other hand claimed that all the documents belonged to Fessas.

    Markides said Fessas had admitted that he was responsible one of the documents, entitled ‘Section Chief, where he expressed his ideas of what an army co-ordinator’s duties should be.

    "But the use of the word ‘Section Chief’ is not common in the army. Anyhow, it is still pending whether Fessas committed a military offence by collecting confidential military information, in which case he could be sentenced to a three-year prison service. Whether Fessas committed such an offence will be examined by an army investigator who will hand his findings to the Attorney-general’s office. The office will then decide whether Fessas will be tried in a Court of Law."

    Markides said that, as far as Marangos was concerned, it had been proved that he had tampered with some of the documents, adding handwritten notes for his own use, as he thought some of the content was not clear enough.

    "Therefore, he will too be put under investigation by an army investigator to examine whether he committed a military civil offence by getting in the way and interfering with a legal procedure."

    Markides said Papacostas had not identified his sources, something that stood in the way of the investigation, and called all those who claimed to know more about the allegations to contact his office.

    "We cannot get to the bottom of this unless someone who tipped off Papacostas about a clandestine secretariat’s meetings gives us some concrete information," said Markides.

    "I urge Papacostas and his sources to be more specific. I reassure his sources that if they reveal themselves they will not be punished and they will be protected if they think their life will be on the line, once they finger the guilty ones."

    "At the moment, we have nothing but a bunch of typed papers," the Attorney- general said, answering an unsatisfied reporter’s questions.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 27, 2000

    [06] Motorway closed after horror crash

    THE DHEKELIA to Famagusta motorway had to be closed for two hours yesterday morning as rescue crews battled to free a man trapped in his car after a horrific head-on collision with a lorry.

    The man, 28-year-old waiter Andreas Fellas, was eventually freed from his crushed car and rushed to Larnaca hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to halt internal bleeding. His condition was still serious last night.

    The accident happened at about 8am, Fellas colliding with an Electricity Authority (EAC) lorry as he turned onto the motorway from the Xylophagou road. The road junction is a well known an accident hot spot.

    According to police, Fellas veered onto the wrong side of the road as he joined the motorway. The EAC lorry swerved to avoid Fellas’ car but could not avoid a head-on smash, police reported.

    It took the fire brigade an hour-and-a-quarter to get the badly injured Fellas out of his car.

    The 28-year-old waiter is father to four young children.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 27, 2000

    [07] Pair survives collision with liner

    By Jean Christou

    A GREEK couple had a brush with death on Monday night when their yacht collided with the Louis-owned cruise liner Princesa Cypria in the Aegean.

    The ship stopped and searched for the passengers of the yacht for more than an hour, only to discover that the couple had made their way back to port by dinghy and were both safe and well. Their rented yacht sank without trace.

    Questions have been raised over why the couple did not see the lights of the cruise liner, which was carrying some 820 passengers on its way to the Greek island of Kos from the port of Nisiros.

    A statement from Louis yesterday said the Princesa Cypria was on its regular five-day cruise to the Greek islands and was leaving Nisiros at around 11.30pm when the yacht strayed into its path a mile and a half from shore.

    "It was a strange situation," Louis marketing manager George Michaelides told the Cyprus Mail. "How can you not see a huge ship in front of you full of lights?"

    He said he did not know if the yacht itself was lit at the time because the investigation into the exact circumstances of the collision had not yet been completed.

    Michaelides said the Princesa Cypria stopped to assist the Greek coastguard with the search for the yacht’s occupants for more than an hour until it emerged that the couple had headed straight for shore in a dinghy.

    "We stopped and searched but there was no trace of them," Michaelides said. He said it appeared the couple had reached shore quickly and had not been injured in the collision.

    The Princesa Cypria continued its journey to Kos where it was given the all clear by the Greek authorities to continue to the island of Lesbos, Michaelides said.

    The cruise liner will return to Limassol on schedule on Friday evening.

    Michaelides said yachts were a common problem for cruise ship captains in and around ports near the Greek islands.

    "Thank God there were no victims in this case," he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail


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