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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-13

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

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


Friday, October 13, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Market dives to new lows
  • [02] Klerides talks up prospects but admits growing deficit
  • [03] Immigration step up checks for fleeing Milosevic supporters
  • [04] Sparks fly as Koutsou and Papapetrou clash again
  • [05] Ivanov pledges commitment to UN resolutions
  • [06] Veterans tell slave labourers to appeal for compensation

  • [01] Market dives to new lows

    By Jennie Matthew

    Just when investors thought it couldn’t get any worse, the all-share index collapsed to bargain basement depths, plummeting to 331.51, at the session’s close.

    Blue chips were shattered by a tidal wave of panic selling that jacked the volume up to £29.83 million, as countless investors cut their ties with the market that as long since become a milestone around their necks.

    But brokers are desperate to pour oil on troubled waters. With prices at all time lows, institutional investors may be poised to take advantage and buy up serious numbers of stocks.

    “To say the market is terrible is a bit of an exaggeration. I believe the market now, is a very good buying opportunity. If you buy now, then you’re safe. Even if the market drops by another three to five per cent, the recovery will be as quick as it was before,” said Socrates Georgiades of Argus Financial Group.

    It was another day of heavy losses for the banks, who have lost ground all week. Bank of Cyprus slipped down another 10 cents to close at £6.29, while Cyprus Popular Bank shed 29 cents, reducing the most expensive share on the trading floor to £9.00.

    “The banks have lost the percentage that other companies have lost now, putting them on an equal basis,” said Georgiades.

    The tourism companies floundered with the best of them. The morning’s session hacked off 20 cents from New Marathon Tours, reducing the share price to a pathetic 70 cents.

    But the trading group saw the biggest sector tail off, registering a 8.83 per cent fall out.

    F.W. Woolworth & Co, did particularly badly, collapsing to 80 cents, 13 cents lower than its opening price.

    Insurance companies have dwindled to such an extent, that the tiniest of volumes can have a devastating effect on performance: a 7.62 per cent decline on just £139,164 worth of transactions.

    Other big losers were Europrofit Capital Investors, which shed 15 cents, dipping to £1.12 per share.

    CyVenture Capital also bailed out by 15 cents, coming into rest at £1.45. The largely stable Glory Worldwide Holdings slid down to £5.62, after opening at £5.44.

    The information technology sector was the only group to chalk up a positive showing yesterday, with a 1.86 per cent rise. Logicom collapsed 24 cents down at £4.72 and Spidernet Services finished five cents down at 77 cents.

    But GlobalSoft triumphed amid the failure. A stable company, with excellent profits, it is an enticing option for investors keen to take advantage of cheap prices.

    Opening at £5.51, it shot up to an intraday high of £5.97, before coming into close at £5.73.

    Sharelink Financial Services also put in a decent performance, gaining five cents to close at £1.86. The financial companies amassed the largest group volume, some £7.44million.

    Friday, October 13, 2000

    [02] Klerides talks up prospects but admits growing deficit

    By Jennie Matthew

    FINANCE Minister Takis Klerides yesterday represented his 2001 budget report to a packed House of Representatives in a package he labelled “developmental, stabilising and social” and “a big step closer to the EU”.

    But between the lines, Klerides was forced to concede a worsening public deficit, which “endangers the stability of our economy and our European course”.

    “The 2001 budget provides for expenditure of £2.106 billion and income £1.552 billion, compared to an expenditure of £1.836 billion and an income of £1.441 billion for 2000,” he said.

    That put the “positive trend” of public deficit, now the equivalent of 60 per cent of GDP, £159 million higher in 2000 than in 1999.

    But with the path to harmonisation steaming ahead, and the target date for full EU membership ever nearing, there is no major policy departure in the 2001 budget.

    “Everything around us is changing at a very fast pace. Our only choice is swift harmonisation with Europe. A competitive economy mainly means one thing. The state has to stop behaving as a businessman,” he underlined, referring to the need to divorce the state from the many semi-governmental organisations.

    “Harmonisation with the EU demands the abolition of state monopolies in certain sectors of the economy. Semi-governmental organisations have to adapt to changes in the market,” he said.

    He announced the government's commitment to spending £70 million on propping up agriculture in the coming year, alongside a number of subsidies for the service sector, such as a tax relief bill for companies providing services abroad.

    In keeping with the minister's vision of a society “sensitive to human pain”, he said pensions would increase and that investment in education and health care would stay strong.

    The development budget is to increase by £5.8 million to £293.5 million. The money will be channelled into the completion of the Limassol-Paphos highway and a new Nicosia hospital.

    While the path to Brussels may be thorny, Klerides was delighted to point out the economic prosperity of 2000.

    Unemployment dropped by 0.3 per cent in 2000 to rest at 3.3 per cent, while growth stormed ahead at 4.8 per cent.

    “We had high rates of development, full employment, a reduction in the public deficit and increases in incomes, despite the prolonged drought and the increase in the price of crude” he said.

    But tax hikes are on the horizon, with a forthcoming reappraisal with a view to modernising the taxation system.

    This comment was shortly followed by complaints that EU funds to help with harmonisation were insufficient.

    Klerides also tried to minimise the seriousness of inflation, currently 4.2 per cent, outside the Maastricht criteria, by saying the causes were only temporary, again citing international exchange, the drought and high oil prices.

    And with the government unable to muster a majority in the House of Representatives, the minister called for unity in backing the budget.

    “We are too few to be divided. We must put the collective above the individual; the us above the me,” he said in a powerful plea for support.

    The minister presented his one-hour budget report to a rapt audience.

    At the end of the speech, House President Spyros Kyprianou postponed the rest of the agenda until the next plenum.

    Friday, October 13, 2000

    [03] Immigration step up checks for fleeing Milosevic supporters

    By George Psyllides

    CHECKS at all points of entry on the island have been stepped up to block the entry of allies of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic who may attempt to flee Yugoslavia in the aftermath of his fall from power, the Immigration Department said yesterday.

    The statement came after a report in yesterday's Times claimed the President of Beogradska Banka, Borka Vucic, had on Monday fled to Cyprus in a private jet along with 18 other people.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou denied that Vucic - who for years headed the Nicosia offshore branch of Beogradska -- had come to Cyprus this week.

    And Immigration Department Director Andreas Aristidou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that no Yugoslav on the EU's stop list had attempted to enter Cyprus since the elections.

    He could not, however, say if Vucic was in fact on the stop list.

    Larnaca airport authorities said yesterday there had been no private jet landings from Belgrade on Monday.

    The only flight from Belgrade to land in Cyprus on Monday was a scheduled flight by the state-run JAT, they told the Cyprus Mail.

    On Wednesday, Serbian independent news agency FoNet quoted Vucic denying the allegations from her office in Belgrade.

    “I have not been in China, Kuwait or Larnaca, and those who are saying this should know that the chairperson of the bank does not take money or gold out of the country.”

    Vucic denied ever carrying out a single banking transaction for Milosevic, or any transaction involving either old or new foreign currency savings accounts.

    “Neither Beogradska Banka nor the Bank in Cyprus, which has been frequently been mentioned, ever had any instructions for payments or transfers on behalf of Mr. Milosevic.”

    The Times claimed that as president of the Beogradska, Vucic was alleged to have laundered millions of pounds for Milosevic's personal fortune in overseas banks.

    The bank's branch on the island is currently inactive after having its licence revoked by the Central Bank.

    Beogradska has filed an appeal fighting the Central Bank's action.

    The decision on the case is expected in November.

    Friday, October 13, 2000

    [04] Sparks fly as Koutsou and Papapetrou clash again

    By George Psyllides

    THE SPAT between Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou and New Horizons Chairman Nicos Koutsou moved up a gear yesterday with exchanges between the two degenerating into verbal abuse and sarcasm.

    The brawl started on Wednesday when Koutsou accused Papapetrou of shady deals involving shares during his tenure as an Akel deputy.

    Yesterday, during a radio programme which hosted both men, Papapetrou denied that the shares Koutsou had accused him of owning were his.

    Papapetrou said he had merely held shares, which he returned when he left Akel.

    Koutsou countered this did not prove he had not sold the shares and made a profit for himself.

    Papapetrou left Akel and founded his own party, ADISOK, which eventually merged with the United Democrats.

    At this point, the etiquette was dropped and the sparks flew.

    An irate Papapetrou accused Koutsou of behaving like a “political coupist” and said he was using only those facts that suited his purposes.

    “If you want to be part of the island's political world you should get rid of your political coupist behaviour,” Papapetrou said.

    Koutsou demanded an explanation from Papapetrou, but instead he got more abuse.

    Papapetrou: “You act like a political thug, a political coupist. You find 10 bits of information, hide nine, and focus on the one to put your case together.”

    Koutsou, sarcastically: “I am sorry I brought you to such a difficult position.”

    Papapetrou: “When I talk to such lowlifes like you, I have to come down to your level.”

    At this point Koutsou warned Papapetrou's comments could be considered defamatory and taken up with the courts.

    Papapetrou countered by challenging Koutsou to go to court.

    “I am sorry you are the government spokesman and use this kind of language, ” Koutsou replied.

    The two men have been at loggerheads since April, with the New Horizons leader accusing the United Democrats of wielding an influence in government disproportionate to their electoral strength.

    In August, Koutsou attacked the Agricultural Ministry (also headed by a United Democrat) for its desalination policy, claiming it was wasting millions in taxpayer money by ignoring an Electricity Authority (EAC) offer for a cheaper alternative.

    Papapetrou responded saying Koutsou had a personal interest in the issue since he and his wife were allegedly the only shareholders in a company that had a personal interest in the EAC's desalination proposal.

    Friday, October 13, 2000

    [05] Ivanov pledges commitment to UN resolutions

    By Athena Karsera

    MOSCOW will be working to strengthen the UN Cyprus talks process, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said yesterday as he left the island at the end of a flying visit.

    Speaking from Larnaca airport, Ivanov said Russia believed it was “imperative to insist on the principals of international law and UN Resolutions as efforts to settle regional conflicts are concerned”.

    The Russian minister, the first ever to have visited Cyprus, said that his country fully supported an overall and just solution to the Cyprus problem, “on the basis of the relevant UN Resolutions to the benefit of Greek and Turkish Cypriots”.

    He said the UN-led talks process was a “sure way to work out an agreement on Cyprus,” and that Russia was “very much interested in seeing this dialogue continue”.

    “We believe that at this stage it is important to strengthen the efforts of the international community and to contribute to the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-general.

    “My talks here with he President of the Republic and the Foreign Minister have given a push to the political dialogue between our two countries and underscored cultural and economic relations.”

    Ivanov went on to Athens yesterday for talks with the Greek government.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said his talks with Ivanov had been “friendly and productive,” and that he believed “Ivanov's presence here has marked Cypriot-Russian ties with a gesture of closer friendship and co- operation.”

    Reuters said yesterday Ivanov and Cassoulides had also discussed the Middle East crisis during their meeting. Cyprus has in the past offered to host peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, an offer that Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou reiterated on Wednesday.

    Friday, October 13, 2000

    [06] Veterans tell slave labourers to appeal for compensation

    By Staff Reporter

    PEOPLE forced into slave labour during the Second World War and their descendents could be eligible for compensation, the Cyprus World War II Veterans Association announced yesterday.

    “If you were a victim of forced labour during the Nazi Regime, you are eligible to apply for financial compensation through the International Immigration Organisation within the framework of a new German law,” said a statement from the association.

    The veterans said prisoners of war who had not been forced to work were not entitled to apply. But they added that if the person that had carried out the labour had died after February 15, 1999, their surviving spouse or children were eligible to claim.

    Entitled persons will receive a limp sum of 15,000 German Marks (approximately £4,400) and must apply before August 11, 2001.

    Application forms can be obtained from the Association's offices in every town. The Association can be contacted on 02-669269.


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