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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-02-06

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

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


Wednesday, February 6, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Turkish arms shipments 'not helping talks'
  • [02] Milk wars hot up as Lanitis gets extra share
  • [03] Case of stay-at-school mother is 'not unique'
  • [04] Deputies back plan to suspend airport tax
  • [05] Student anger over plans to turn hotel in library
  • [06] Special needs suspects 'should not be behind bars'
  • [07] Minister rubbishes Salt Lake hotel complex report
  • [08] 'Spare zivania from EU duty'
  • [09] News in Brief

  • [01] Turkish arms shipments 'not helping talks'

    By Jean Christou

    AS PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash today seek to wrap up talks on the issue of security, reports yesterday suggested Turkey was shipping more arms to the north.

    Turkish and Turkish Cypriot military officials said the claim was untrue.

    According to the reports in the Greek Cypriot papers, Turkey sent aircraft and a navy vessel laden with weapons, including tanks, to the occupied areas at the end of January.

    The government yesterday expressed its concern over the reports at a time when the two sides are engaged in unprecedented direct talks on the Cyprus issue. The leaders of the two communities are meeting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to discuss a solution.

    On Monday, the two sides discussed security issues. Speaking after the meeting, Denktash told reporters: "Of course, they have one point of view and we have another. It's natural. We are trying to bring these views closer to one another. Today, there has been a more closer movement than before, that I can say."

    Asked if the issue had been closed, Denktash said: "Nothing is closed. We cannot say we reached agreement on a specific subject unless we agree on everything. However, we will probably finish this subject on Wednesday."

    Commenting on the alleged arms shipments yesterday, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said such developments, if true, would not contribute to progress or a good climate for the talks.

    Defence Minster Socratis Hasikos added: "This does not convince us that the Turks want a settlement and that they really mean it," he said.

    A Turkish Cypriot army spokesman said: "They have received the wrong intelligence... There are no new weapons, or any weapons for that matter, that have been shipped to the island."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Milk wars hot up as Lanitis gets extra share

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE BITTER war over milk supplies stepped up a gear yesterday when the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) granted Lanitis 10 tons more milk a day and ignored similar pleas from rival players.

    Dairy producers are at loggerheads over access to the restricted milk output in Cyprus, caused by the shortage of dairy farms and unsuitable grazing conditions in the intense heat.

    The race heated up when juice manufacturers Lanitis branched out into milk sales last year.

    With no visible increase in milk production, the raw product has been spread more thinly than before.

    Market newcomers Lanitis have taken consumers by storm with their popular transparent, screw-top bottles, easy to use and easy to store.

    Hankering for more milk in order to meet customer demand, the MMB decided to award the company an extra 10 tons of milk a day at a meeting on Monday night.

    Commerce and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis, who is responsible for overseeing the industry until the sector fully liberalises in keeping with European Union harmonisation, endorsed the decision.

    "The Milk Board has given Lanitis an extra 10 tonnes per day, an increase of between 30 and 35 per cent in their allowance. Of course, they are not satisfied and their demand was much higher. But I didn't intervene because I thought the decision was fair," Rolandis told the Cyprus Mail.

    But main rivals Christis don't agree.

    "What can I say? For us its unacceptable, but everything has been decided by the Minister and the Milk Marketing Board," said the managing director of Christis, Panicos Hadjicostas.

    "We've just completed a new dairy and we need 20 tonnes more milk a day. We spelt out our needs to the MMB and gave them the necessary bank guarantees, " he added.

    He said Lanitis' success had not damaged company sales, which rose 10 per cent last month compared to figures for January 2001.

    "The raw material is never enough. The first thing to do is secure enough milk," he added.

    Rolandis said he was following milk matters continuously, given the antagonisms between different players in the industry.

    A decision over price increases will be taken later in the week. "There probably will be an increase to give dairy farmers more room," said the Minister.

    The rivalry has recently turned its attention to packaging because of the plastic bottle craze.

    Christis said yesterday they had no intention of joining the bandwagon, citing scientific evidence that transparent containers reduce the quantity of vitamin B and alter the taste of the milk, because of a chemical reaction to light.

    In order to convince the bottle-loving public, the company is organising a big seminar on the issue later this year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Case of stay-at-school mother is 'not unique'

    By Rita Kyriakides

    THE CASE of an anxious mother who continues to follow her daughter into class well in to the second term of the year is not unique, according to a senior educationalist.

    A source at the Nicosia school which has fallen under the public spotlight over a mother who refuses to leave her six-year-old daughter go into class alone, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the phenomenon was not uncommon.

    "I've seen a case at another school I worked at where a mother attended school with her child, who was in Grade Four, until May of the school year. In this particular case, the child is having difficulty being separated from her mother, that's all," he said.

    The source also said the mother had been handed a letter yesterday informing her she would have to stop accompanying her daughter to school by next Monday.

    "Things like this happen at all schools. The child has to realise that her mother cannot be with her at school," he said.

    Although mothers are allowed to accompany their children to a new school and even to sit in class, this is generally only for a short period of time.

    Last Friday, Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides said the mother would be refused entry to the school from February 11, as her presence was causing problems for the other pupils, teachers and the child in question.

    The child's mother has said she will sue the Ministry if this happens, and that they would have to physically drag her away.

    Teachers say the mother's presence disrupts the rest of the class because the child constantly cries if she cannot see her mother and gets up to find her. This disrupts the lesson and the other pupils.

    The mother insists she is not disruptive and that she is not even inside the classroom, but waits outside.

    The child is reported to be so dependent on her mother that she did not go to nursery or pre-school. When the time came for her to start primary school her mother applied for a deferral, which was granted. The following year she again applied for a year's deferral, but it was refused because Ministry officials believed she was mature enough to begin school.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Deputies back plan to suspend airport tax

    THE HOUSE Communications Committee yesterday unanimously approved a government bill scrapping airport tax and landing fees for April and May in an effort to boost tourism.

    Briefing reporters after a meeting of the committee, its chairman Nicos Pittokopitis, said deputies had been convinced the measures would give the tourism sector a shot in the arm.

    Tourism has suffered losses since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.

    If the temporary bill passes through Parliament, travellers flying to and from Larnaca or Paphos airports in April and May will not be charged the standard 7 airport tax. The scheme also scraps landing and take-off fees that carriers have to pay.

    "It looks like the bill will be adopted by the Plenum because the Committee gave the green light to the plan today," said Pittokopitis.

    The committee chairman said the plan would cost the state 3 million in May and a little less than that in April.

    "However, we hope tourism will benefit from the development and we will have much bigger profits," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Student anger over plans to turn hotel in library

    By Rita Kyriakides

    DESPITE protests from students of the Cyprus Hotel and Catering Institute (HCI), the former Philoxenia Hotel is to be turned into a state library.

    The president of the HCI's Student Union, Fillipos Pattichis, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the hotel had been built next to the HCI grounds so students could complete their practical work in a hotel environment.

    "The government could have spent 10,000 to fix the hotel so the students could continue to work there for their practicals. We are now forced to try find work at hotels or restaurants that are approved by the HCI to complete our practical work," said Pattichis.

    The students are in danger of losing lodgings at the HCI because the building they are currently staying in will be closed at the end of the year for renovations.

    The students have to move out because the building has deteriorated to the extent that the students do not feel safe, but they have not been informed of where they will stay next year.

    "We were told that the Labour Ministry was looking into hiring apartments for the students until the other building was renovated but we don't believe they will do it," he said.

    The students asked to be allowed to stay at the abandoned Philoxenia Hotel while the renovations take place, but were refused after the Education Ministry received permission last month to turn it into a library.

    Pattichis said the hotel had not been guarded or its entrances secured since it was closed two years ago, and people had been wandering in out of curiosity.

    "About two weeks ago, we heard that some students had taken things from the hotel and we demanded that they return them," said Pattichis.

    Attention was drawn to the hotel when police caught a student carrying a television set from the hotel.

    "We cannot understand why the hotel was left unguarded and unsecured with everything still inside," he said.

    Pattichis said although there were a few students who acted wrongly, it was unfair for the HCI to be branded with a bad reputation.

    "We will be taking drastic measures that some people might not like to ensure that the students have a place to stay," said Pattichis.

    The Education Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Petros Kareklas, said the Ministry had received permission to turn the hotel into a library after waiting for two years while procedures were cleared up between the Education and Tourism Ministries to hand over the hotel and the plans for renovations were completed.

    "Now that we have approval, we will begin plans to convert the hotel into a library," said Kareklas.

    Kareklas said that, while the Ministry would not allow the students to stay in the hotel, there was a possibility the beds, televisions and other items in the hotel could be given to the students.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Special needs suspects 'should not be behind bars'

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE HOUSE Human Rights Committee yesterday launched an investigation into complaints regarding the treatment of police suspects with special needs, charging there was a total legal vacuum on the matter.

    During a meeting of the committee yesterday, AKEL deputy George Lillikas cited the case of a mentally handicapped suspect who had spent three months in prison pending trial.

    Police officer Lakis Panayiotou confirmed the case in question, admitting there was no policy governing the treatment of such suspects.

    "The person involved is a 20-year-old man who lost his job. He was arrested in connection with arson attacks and the court ordered his remand," Lillikas said.

    "The remand order was renewed every week so he ended up spending three months behind bars before he was eventually tried."

    The AKEL deputy claimed the young man had suffered emotional trauma during his time in prison.

    "I don't trust the justice system to deal with these cases," he added. "The rights of this man have been violated because he was questioned with no family member, lawyer, or counsellor present. I would not like to go into details about the way he was treated during questioning," Lillikas said without elaborating.

    He charged it had taken the Attorney-general's office 40 days to reply to a letter of complaint sent by the 20-year-old's adoptive father.

    DISY deputy Nicos Tornaritis cited another complaint made to him recently concerning a mentally handicapped man who worked at a stadium and had allegedly been severely beaten by police during a match.

    "He was so badly hurt he was hospitalised. Now every time he goes to a police

    station to report the incident he is told there is no one available to help him," Tornaritis said.

    Addressing the Committee, Charis Flogas, the Secretary-general of the Federation of Parents of Special Needs Patients, charged that local legislation was not in line with a UN blueprint on the treatment of mentally handicapped persons.

    "The UN provides for a legal framework to protect the rights of people with special needs," he said, "and in Cyprus there is no policy on the matter at all."

    The Committee replied it would immediately launch an investigation into complaints of this kind reported to its members.

    Deputies, police representatives and Nicosia Central Prison Governor Charis Themistocleous all shared the view that prison was no place for people with special needs.

    "They are often taken advantage of by other prisoners because they are vulnerable and exposed to all kinds of danger," Themistocleous said, noting that his prison had accommodated three mentally handicapped inmates in the past two years.

    "If we jail these people, then we are committing a much bigger crime than the ones they have committed," police official Theodoros Petasis added.

    Lillikas insisted that people with special needs needed the state's support to become members of the society.

    "Punishing them in this way is the same as throwing children into jail," he argued.

    Themistocleous added there were neither special facilities for mentally handicapped inmates in prison nor specialised personnel to take care of them.

    "Anyone can hurt them, so when such a person is sent to prison, I try to do my best to ensure they will be safe. I ask guards and convicts who I know are good people to keep an eye on them, but I can't watch them round the clock," Themistocleous said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Minister rubbishes Salt Lake hotel complex report

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday dismissed media reports claiming land next to the environmentally protected Larnaca Salt Lake would be developed into a hotel and sports complex.

    A top official claimed that green activists in the civil service anxious to smear the Public Works Department had leaked the erroneous information to Politis newspaper.

    A report carried in the paper yesterday alleged that the Council of Ministers had discussed the possibility of erecting a hotel complex and a 2000-seat basketball stadium on unused ground bordering the lake.

    But Minister of Communications and Public Works Averoff Neophytou said the only site under consideration for commercial exploitation was currently occupied by Larnaca Airport.

    The airport is to be relocated several kilometres to the west as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment plan under a Build Operate Transfer project.

    "There's no question of building on the lake or creating any problems for the environment. No one is more sensitive to the environment than the Department of Public Works, We thought it would be good to use the existing premises for commercial use," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    Senior civil servants at the Ministry also said there was no truth in the Politis claims.

    "I've never heard of it and I don't think they would ever allow development in these areas," said Lefteris Stylianides, project manager for the airport.

    But the Green Party was nonetheless convinced that the proposal was on the cards.

    "We've tabled it for discussion at next week's environment committee. We'll do our best to stop it and I think we have the authority because they'll have to come back to Parliament for its approval," said party leader and deputy Giorgos Perdikis.

    "We're against any plans for the protected area of the lake and any project in its neighbourhood," he said.

    Perdikis voted against the bill to modernise the airport on the grounds of possible environmental damage caused by increased air traffic.

    "I don't know if Larnaca needs another hotel or sports stadium but the solution doesn't lie in the Larnaca Salt Lake," he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] 'Spare zivania from EU duty'

    THE HOUSE Commerce Committee is seeking for Zivania to be exempted from duty, its chairman Lefteris Christoforou told reporters at the House after a discussion on the matter yesterday.

    "We want the EU to consider Zivania a traditional alcoholic drink and not to tax it like a European drink," said Christoforou, adding such an exemption would benefit the economy.

    The Committee has already sent a letter to EU chief negotiator George Vassiliou asking him to address their demand.

    Cyprus hopes to join the Union in 2004.

    "Zivania is our main traditional drink and we want to treat it like it deserves," the committee chairman stressed.

    Christoforou noted that President Glafcos Clerides' love for the drink had contributed to its popularity.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] News in Brief

    Divers search dam for missing man

    LIMASSOL police yesterday continued their search for a 55-year old farmer, missing from home for more than a week.

    The search yesterday took rescue workers to a nearby dam. Divers searched underwater, while a special police boat used special metal detectors to scan for any signs of a vehicle.

    Charalambos Pelopida, from Kantou, disappeared from home on January 29 after going to gather vegetables in his grey Mitsubishi pick-up.

    Police are investigating all avenues in the search for Pelopida, including the possibility of foul play.

    Pelopida is 1.7 metres tall with greying black hair and wears glasses. Police are appealing to the public to come forward if they have any information.

    Bomb wrecks car

    A BOMB yesterday destroyed a car belonging to former police officer Savvas Christodoulou, as it was parked outside his home in the Dasopoulis suburb of Nicosia. The early morning explosion also damaged another car parked nearby. First indications were that the device was home-made and placed under the front of Christodoulou's Mercedes.

    Coffeeshop strip tease

    POLICE were called to a Limassol coffeeshop on Sunday night after a Ukrainian artiste began stripping for customers.

    According to reports, some of the customers at the coffeeshop called a local cabaret and said they would pay for an artiste to go there and put on a show for them.

    Police vice squad officer patrolling area spotted the woman dancing half naked in front of the customers. She was charged with indecent exposure. The 36-year-old owner of the coffeeshop was also charged.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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