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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-18

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

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


Wednesday, October 18, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Scramble to restore market confidence
  • [02] Index picks up slightly
  • [03] Medical Association urges police to prosecute 'charlatans'
  • [04] 22,000 names slashed off stop list
  • [05] Shopkeepers to sue over pedestrianisation
  • [06] Cyprus insists it has no Milosevic cash

  • [01] Scramble to restore market confidence

    By Jean Christou

    AS THE all-share index recovered slightly yesterday, brokers, investors, politicians and businessmen all came out of the closet to analyse the market's woes.

    On Monday night, Finance Minister Takis Klerides held an emergency meeting with the stockbrokers' association after the index plunged almost five per cent during the day's trading to a new low of 313.

    After further meetings yesterday with brokers and investors, Klerides said he would begin a series of contacts with all parties concerned with the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) to get to the root of the problem.

    “The two parties reaffirmed they would support the CSE,” he said in a brief statement after the meeting.

    Brokers' Association president Christodoulos Ellinas said yesterday his members would take on their responsibility on the floor as large investors. He said the meeting with Klerides had led to some positive conclusions, which, with the support of brokers, could reverse the current downward spiral.

    “I think this will turn around the negative climate we've been experiencing, ” he said. “I think the most important thing is for the small investors to gain back their trust in the market and I think there is still time for the climate to be turned around and we all have to take measures to bring this about.”

    Ellinas said investors had to look at the CSE in the long term. “We have a lot of good companies on the CSE, companies that can not only stand on their own there but also on exchanges abroad,” he said.

    But the brokers' sweet-talking appeared to be falling on the deaf ears among investors, who say they are fed up with seeing their life savings going down the drain as institutional investors play games with the market.

    Investors Association president Alkis Argyrides said investors were hoping that changes to CSE regulations would help stem the market's fall.

    But government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the government would not interfere in the market unless there was proof of dirty dealings, in which case it “wouldn't hesitate”

    “If we stuck our necks out blindly it would be the end of the CSE,” he told his daily press briefing. “We do not want the CSE to be politicised. It needs to operate on levels within the framework of the laws of the economy and the market.”

    He admitted, however, that improvements to the regulations were needed and confirmed that the House would he discussing these at tomorrow's plenum.

    “If there is proven suspicion of an illegal activity, we would not hesitate, but until now there has not been,” he said. “The government does not have a magic spell that can influence the index. The market has to be left to operate within the laws of the market.”

    Renos Christodoulides, vice president of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said investors' behaviour was inexplicable, but added he could not rule out the possibility that people might be playing games on the CSE. “Logically, there could have been some played in part, but at the same time what is happening is also the result of ill-conceived investments either early this year or late last year.”

    Christodoulides` words were echoed by Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV) chairman Michalis Zivanaris at a news conference yesterday. “We are paying for the sins of the past. Investors should be calm and not panic sell,” he said, adding that the situation was nothing new and happened on all markets around the globe.

    “I could say we are paying for our irresponsible behaviour in 1999. Patience and self-restraint is required because selling in a panic will not serve any purpose.”

    Zivanaris also called for an independent and in-depth study to find out what mistakes had been made and how they could be avoided in the future.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2000

    [02] Index picks up slightly

    By Jean Christou

    THE MARKET recovered slightly yesterday but the 0.76 per cent increase was no cause for celebration with the all-share index closing low at 318.94 points.

    Opening at around the 321 level, the index rose rapidly some 2.5 per cent to 325 but hopes were short lived as investors watched it plunge back to 320 by mid session, a level it maintained for another 30 minutes before dropping again.

    Volume was low at only £16.7 million, around 40 per cent less than Monday as uncertainty continued to reign and forecasts of doom and gloom pervaded the trading floor.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC) which suspended trading last Friday for the duration of its Greek IPO was noticeable by its absence as investor focus shifted to Laiki.

    “Laiki has been getting a lot of attention the last couple of days. We haven’t seen investors keen on banks lately so this might be a positive sign, if, and only if, investors are tired of speculating and are looking to invest long-term in fundamentally sound companies, hence choosing Laiki, ” a CSE analyst said yesterday. “One other reason for the heavy volume on Laiki is that stockbrokers are encouraging investors to start buying shares in order to stabilise the index and Laiki is probably the share of their choice especially now that the Bank of Cyprus is not trading.”

    Laiki absorbed about 23 per cent of yesterday’s turnover with over £3.78 million in volume although the stock lost 0.36 per cent to close at £8.22.

    Most sectors were up yesterday with winning companies outdoing losers by 89 to 54 while 41 remained unchanged. Best performing sector was building and construction, which gained 6.86 per cent. Worst performing of the only three sectors which ended in the red were fish culture companies losing 3.06 per cent, while the financial and IT sectors dropped 1.8 per cent and 0.91 per cent respectively.

    In the insurance sector which gained 5.44 per cent, Liberty Life added 13 cents to end at £1.77 while in manufacturing which ended 3.43 per cent up, Lanitis (Coca Cola) added four cents to close at 54 cents with 1.77 million shares changing hands on the share’s second day of trading. The stock

    finished second on the active trading list with an 8.65 per cent gain.

    “Investors grabbed the opportunity to buy the shares of Coca-Cola at nearly the same price a tin of Coke costs,” the CSE analyst said.

    Heavy trading also took place in CLR stocks with over 1.26 million traded, the share gaining half a cent to finish at 30 cents. Logicom also came out on top, jumping 13 cents to close at £4.78 while `big brother’ GlobalSoft saw a decline of seven cents to end at £5.95 on a lower than usual volume of 130,000 shares traded.

    “There is still too much uncertainty and lack of liquidity which will probably keep the index from rising,” the CSE analyst said. “Let us not forget that the index is misleading and one should not look at the index by itself and judge the listed shares as a whole. In the last 8 - 12 months some shares have given up as much as 1000% while others have risen 300%, so lets be more specific and look at the shares themselves.”

    ENDS

    Wednesday, October 18, 2000

    [03] Medical Association urges police to prosecute 'charlatans'

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE PANCYPRIAN Medical Association yesterday submitted more evidence to Nicosia CID about two people they allege are charlatan doctors, stepping up pressure on police to prosecute.

    CID chief Tassos Panayiotou told the Cyprus Mail that the President of the Medical Association, Dr Antonis Vassiliou, had drawn his attention to letters apparently written by patients of the accused, complaining of their false pretences.

    Vassiliou told the Cyprus Mail he had brought up 20 new instances of malpractice by the two, who he said claimed to be doctors but were not on the Cyprus register of licence physicians.

    Panayiotou said he had not seen the letters, because Vassiliou was unable to betray patient confidentiality, but that the next step was to encourage these people to make formal statements to the police.

    “I was briefed on their contents,” he said. “I promised Dr Vassiliou our co- operation at all levels and that we shall investigate speedily if we can get statements.”

    The new evidence relates to two cases that have been under investigation for some time: the first of a man who claiming crystals can cure people and the second of a woman purporting to be a doctor-biologist.

    Vassiliou cited the case of a schoolgirl allegedly misdiagnosed with dyslexia and myopia. Her schoolwork and eyesight subsequently deteriorated because of unsuitable glasses, he said.

    But pharmacist George Ktenas yesterday hit out at the case and the attitude of the Medical Association, which he accused of pursuing something perfectly legal.

    “I definitely condemn the Medical Association because they are treading on ground they don't understand. We'll never get into the European Community if the police prosecute, because there is a directive saying that the government must facilitate and encourage natural therapies,” Ktenas told the Cyprus Mail.

    “Doctors provide symptomatic relief; the healer helps the body heal itself. It is a human right to chose your own doctor, your own cure and to seek a cure when you can't find one elsewhere,” he said.

    Vassiliou dismissed his argument. “Look, doctors not on the register are not allowed to diagnose illnesses and make medical prescriptions. That is not allowed anywhere,” he said.

    “They treat everything, cancer, paraplegia, arthritis,” he said when pushed about the alleged “crimes”.

    Ktenas said practitioners of natural therapies were licensed and fully trained at colleges recognised by the European Union.

    An insider close to the case also told the Cyprus Mail that a third case was in the early stages of investigation, concerning publications advertising alternative medicine.

    “If they do this thing, then Cyprus will be the only place in the world where alternative therapies are not allowed,” Ktenas warned.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2000

    [04] 22,000 names slashed off stop list

    By George Psyllides

    IN AN effort to expedite procedures at airports and ports, the government has removed around 22,000 names from the island's dated stop list, the Immigration Department said yesterday.

    Around 69,000 names had amassed on the list. Some go back to the days of the Eoka struggle in 1955, while some of the people on the list have died.

    The decision to take names off the list came after Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou appointed an ad hoc committee to address the problem.

    The committee has initially decided to take around 22,000 names off the list, but Immigration Department Director Andreas Aristidou yesterday told the Cyprus Mail they were still going through the list taking out names.

    Aristidou said the main reason why the list was so long was that in the past, when police wanted to find out if someone had left or entered the island, their name would go on the alert list, which is part of the stop list. No one then bothered to remove it after the job was done.

    But it was not only the police who added names on to the list.

    The same method was used by the army and social services, and even people who had lost their passports where among the 69,000, Aristidou said.

    The list was also full of Cypriots who had committed petty offences. This group has been removed and only those with court orders pending against them remain.

    Aristidou said around 80 per cent of the names on the list were those of foreigners wanted for crimes ranging from illegal entry to murder.

    The reduced list will expedite checks at the points of entry and exit, thus making life easier for both officers and travellers, Aristidou said.

    Processing would be even faster in the near feature, once the immigration service is equipped with a new system, he added.

    Apart from being overloaded, he said the current system was cumbersome and time-consuming, and travellers -- especially incoming -- sometimes had to wait while an immigration officer combed through hundreds of people with the same name.

    EU nationals travelling to Cyprus are not submitted to any checks unless police have specific information on them.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2000

    [05] Shopkeepers to sue over pedestrianisation

    By Melina Demetriou

    DISGRUNTLED shop owners are suing Nicosia Municipality, claiming the pedestrianisation of Ledra and Onasagorou streets eight years ago has driven them out of business.

    The shopkeepers say their sales have taken a plunge, with shoppers reluctant to buy from shops outside which they cannot park their cars.

    Nicosia Municipal Secretary Andreas Andreadis told the Cyprus Mail that changing the pedestrian streets back into roads was out of the question.

    “We hold meetings with European experts and we take decisions based on what is good for the town and for the market as well,” he said.

    “I have no idea who the shop owners suing us are, but I know there are just a few of them and that they will try to get reimbursed for suffering losses on the basis of the fact that their shops are on a pedestrian street instead of a road.”

    Shopkeepers' union Povek said yesterday it had nothing to do with the action.

    Melios Georgiou, Secretary General of Povek, told the Cyprus Mail: “The Union is in no way related to the lawsuits because our members in general have not suffered any losses.”

    But several shopkeepers on Ledra Street say business has fallen away since 1992, when cars were barred from Ledra Street.

    “Business is slow. Since the road became pedestrian, sales have fallen by 50 per cent,” said David Shahabian, who owns the Orologas watch shop.

    “One problem is that there is no adequate parking around the area for shoppers. In 1995, many shops moved to different areas and since then it has been very quiet. Before 1992, I used to serve six or seven customers at the same time. Now, my sales are down by 50 per cent. The road should not have become a pedestrian street, but maybe it's too late to change it now,” Shahabian said.

    Another shop owner said: “ In the last few years and especially in the last one there has been a dramatic drop in sales. Maybe it should become a road on weekdays and maintain its pedestrian nature on the weekends. If there were adequate parking lots it would not have been a problem. But there are too few of them and parking on adjacent roads is forbidden.”

    But Andreas Yiasemi, who owns the Pandouflino slipper shop has a different view, putting down the fall in sales to the fact that people were unaware that there were in fact quite a few parking lots near the area.

    “Most people do not know where parking lots are, and avoid coming down here. They are also afraid of mistakenly crossing into the occupied areas through the Green Line, which is quite near. The Municipality should raise awareness among people about the five parking lots in the area and give clear instructions on how to get there because it is not always that simple to find your way in the old town.”

    Wednesday, October 18, 2000

    [06] Cyprus insists it has no Milosevic cash

    By Staff Reporter

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday it had ascertained that neither former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic nor members of his family had any bank accounts in Cyprus.

    Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily press briefing that the government had in the past urged anyone in possession of concrete evidence of such a fact to submit it for investigation. No one had come forward, Papapetrou said.

    Commenting on recent media reports that Milosevic or members of his family had channelled capital worth million to Cyprus, Papapetrou said: “The Republic of Cyprus has not located any such cases, has not located any account in Milosevic's name or of members of his family in Cyprus".


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