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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-02-15

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

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


Friday, February 15, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Hopes raised after leaders' twelfth meeting
  • [02] Olympic roadshow coming to Cyprus
  • [03] News in brief
  • [04] 'Xenophobia, racism, fascism and terrorism'
  • [05] Tourism revenue well up in spite of September 11
  • [06] Pay for us to get married abroad, mixed couple tell the government
  • [07] Did you work at Brentford Nylons in the '70s?
  • [08] Oslo group slams its critics
  • [09] Nicosia bus drivers to strike for pay rise
  • [10] Good news lifts BA gloom in Cyprus
  • [11] Cheese makers call off strike

  • [01] Hopes raised after leaders' twelfth meeting

    By Melina Demetriou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday discussed the critical issues of territory and property in the latest of meetings aimed at solving the Cyprus problem.

    The meeting, their 12th since January 16, took place in a building near the UN-controlled Nicosia airport in the presence of UN mediator Alvaro de Soto. It lasted about an hour.

    The two men were yesterday expected to exchange documents on territory.

    After the event Denktash said talks would intensify in March after a break for a religious holiday.

    US Ambassador Donald Bandler yesterday said now was a very important time for Cyprus and the region, "what one might call a moment of destiny".

    "It is very important that everybody works together to make the very best by that opportunity," he said after a meeting with Clerides yesterday.

    The United Nations yesterday announced that direct talks between Clerides and Denktash will break for a brief reflection period and will resume on March 1, with fewer but longer meetings.

    The two men will meet again today and next Tuesday before breaking in light of the Turkish Bayram celebrations.

    During this break, de Soto will travel to New York to report to the Security Council.

    Political analysts are reserving their assessment of the talks until the second phase when they say the real intentions of the Turkish sides will be easier to determine.

    After meeting with Turkish Foreign minister Ismail Cem in Ankara yesterday EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guider Verheugen said the best way to solve the Cyprus problem was "by having a united Cyprus as a member of the EU."

    "I find the present situation promising and there is a real window of opportunity that should be used," he said.

    The European Commissioner also noted that Turkey was a long way from meeting EU's demands to join the bloc.

    House President Demetris Christofias flies to Athens today to discuss developments in the Cyprus problem with Greek politicians.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Olympic roadshow coming to Cyprus

    THE President of the Athens 2004 Olympics, Yianna Daskalaki-Angelopoulou, will head a delegation on a two-day visit to Cyprus on March 7, it was announced in New York yesterday.

    The announcement was made at a news conference in the US by Cyprus Olympic Committee President Kikis Lazarides, recently elected a member of the International Olympic Committee.

    Lazarides, Executive Chairman of the Laiki Bank Group, said that, during their visit, the President and members of 'Athens 2004' would brief the Cyprus Olympic Committee on the preparations for the Olympic Games and discuss the issue of voluntary work before and during the Games. Thousands of Cypriots are expected to be included in the volunteers' ranks.

    "Volunteers constitute the heart of the Olympic Games and without them it is very difficult to organise good Games. I believe Cyprus will contribute considerably to enlist the number targeted for volunteers and already great interest has been shown in this respect," Lazarides said. He said the campaign for enlisting volunteers would begin officially with Angelopoulou's visit to the island.

    Lazarides said Cyprus had the obligation to help Greece in organising the Games - "I hope that some thousands of Cypriots will work as volunteers in the 2004 Olympiad and will constitute one of the best parts of the voluntary body." Referring to his election to the IOC, Lazarides said this was a great honour for him, his associates and Cyprus.

    "It reflects a long course in sports and brings me to the highest step in the Olympic world. The voice of Cyprus in the international field of sports becomes louder and is taken into account more seriously, as it is represented directly both in the council as well as in other sub-committees of the International Olympic Committee," Lazarides concluded.

    During his visit to the US, Lazarides visited Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympic Games. He also visited "Ground Zero", the site of the doomed Twin Towers in New York, brought down in terrorist attacks on September 11. He announced that Laiki had donated $20,000 towards the fund for the families of the victims.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] News in brief

    31,000 compensation for impotence

    A 72-YEAR-old man from Limassol has been awarded 31,000 in compensation after being made impotent in a road accident seven years ago.

    The incident took place in 1995, when the then 65-year-old was hit by a car while crossing a road on foot.

    The man had to undergo surgery to treat injuries he suffered in his urethra. The surgery, however, made him impotent and he therefore demanded compensation from the car's driver. The court ruled that the driver should submit 31,000 in compensation to the man. The driver appealed against the decision to the Supreme Court, insisting that the accident had not been responsible for the man's impotence, but lost the case.

    Bank robber jailed for 10 years

    A BANK robber was yesterday sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was found guilty of raiding a branch of the Popular Bank last April.

    The Criminal Court on Thursday convicted Panicos Charalambous, 27, of the armed robbery of the branch in Limassol last April.

    The Court yesterday sentenced Charalambous to 10 years in jail, taking into account the recent increase in armed robberies.

    The 35,000 stolen from the bank and the gun used in the robbery have not been found.

    Charalambous, from Kantou outside Limassol, had no previous conviction.

    Pyramid scheme warning

    THE CENTRAL Bank yesterday warned the public to be wary of getting involved in investment schemes.

    A statement released by the Bank said it had recently become aware of companies offering various investment packages, similar to pyramid schemes, claiming to have bank guarantees promising huge returns.

    The high returns offered on such schemes cast doubts on their viability and on the motives of those promoting them, and the bank warns there is a strong likelihood the schemes will collapse and those involved will lose their all money.

    The Central Bank advised the public to exercise utmost caution if approached for such schemes, to ask for more information and to ask for opinions from trained professionals before getting involved.

    World customs chief in Cyprus

    THE PERMANENT Secretary of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), Michel Danet, yesterday suggested Cyprus could act as a platform between the EU, the candidate countries and the Middle East.

    Danet, who is on a two-day visit to the island, met with Finance Minister Takis Klerides and customs officials.

    Klerides said the two men had also discussed the possibility of organising a international congress on the island in October to mark the WCO's 50th anniversary.

    Danet said that since the events of September 11, customs had taken on an important role regarding security issues. Cyprus had undertaken its responsibility in this regard, he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] 'Xenophobia, racism, fascism and terrorism'

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE IMMIGRANT Support Action Group (ISAG) claimed yesterday that recent stories that Chinese students were eating dogs were in fact a smear campaign to disguise the "terrorisation, racism and fascism" meted out by the authorities to foreigners on the island.

    In a written statement, the group called it a "strange coincidence" that police chose to disclose the dog-eating story just days after ISAG convened its own news conference to publicise the ill-treatment of three Chinese and two Sri Lankan students by Immigration Police.

    "It is a strange coincidence, this discovery that Chinese students eat dogs only a few days after our news conference to highlight their plight," read the statement.

    They branded media reaction to the story as proof of how "dangerous racism can become when it isn't stamped on".

    Machi newspaper yesterday splashed a picture of an Alsatian on its front page, with a speech bubble saying: "help, the Chinese are coming!"

    "Xenophobia, racism, fascism and terrorism go together, giving us a nightmarish picture of the 'democracy' in which we live. We call upon all organisations and citizens who want to live in a democracy, in a developed, free society, so that justice and equality can prevail before things get any worse," said ISAG.

    But Immigration Police yesterday denied the allegations and dismissed them as baseless.

    "There is no reason behind these allegation. We don't have anything against anyone," said Sotiris Trifonas, deputy chief of immigration police.

    He said officers had visited a flat of Chinese students in Nicosia and found a pile of bones on the table.

    When they asked what they were, the students allegedly admitted they were dog bones and were the remains of a meal.

    But ISAG went on to ask why Immigration had chosen to go to the press rather than find measures to overcome a problem, if indeed there was one.

    "Do they have concrete evidence? If they do, why don't they prosecute them?"

    Trifonas yesterday confirmed that no one had been questioned or arrested in connection with the incident.

    "We were astonished. It's very unusual - though of course it is bad - that's why we didn't take any measures, and why, in the future, we will treat it seriously," he explained.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Tourism revenue well up in spite of September 11

    By Jean Christou

    TOURISM increased by only 0.4 per cent last year, according to statistics released yesterday, a figure which falls far short of the projections at the beginning of the year.

    However, tourism revenue for the year increased by 7.0 per cent to 1.27 billion, Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis told the Cyprus Mail.

    Until September last year, tourism had been on track and heading for a 5-8 per cent increase, but from the day of the terrorist attacks on the United States, numbers began to fall rapidly each month, culminating in a 20 per cent drop in December.

    The freefall in arrivals in the last four months of the year put paid to expectations that Cyprus would attract three million visitors over the year, with 2001 ending with arrivals of 2.696 million compared to 2.686 million in 2000, a gain of only 10,000 tourists.

    "It's what we expected, but what is better is the seven per cent increase on revenue because it's revenue that matters as far as the economy of the country is concerned," Rolandis said.

    The Minister said that the increase in revenue, which far outweighed the increase in visitors, meant Cyprus was upgrading the "quality" of its tourists and the purchasing power of those who holidayed on the island.

    "In other words, we are getting more tourists of a higher income," he said, adding that in the past four years the 51 per cent increase in revenue had outstripped the 29 per cent rise in arrivals.

    Commenting on the prospects for 2002, following months of gloomy predictions from the UK, Rolandis said he had had a meeting earlier this week with leading British operators on the island.

    "They say the outlook is getting better, especially from the UK," Rolandis said. "This is what I've been saying all along. Unfortunately, local people and hoteliers always misinterpret the figures they get. They say bookings are down 40 per cent but when they do this comparison they do it on a small fraction because by December very few people have booked."

    Rolandis said now was the time for booking, adding he also expected a flood of late bookings this year in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

    "Now, they are picking up. It's good news especially from the United Kingdom, which is the main market," he said. "Actually, it appears it will be the other way around. The UK is recovering fast and rest of Europe is slower. But overall I believe the year will not be bad. I stick to this and this is what I said two or three months ago."

    Tourists arrivals in December came mainly from the UK, accounting for over 50 per cent of the total, followed by Greece with 10.5 per cent and Germany 9.4 per cent.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Pay for us to get married abroad, mixed couple tell the government

    By Jennie Matthew

    A TURKISH Cypriot man and his Greek Cypriot partner are asking the government to pay for a foreign wedding and honeymoon given that the law prohibits them from marrying at home.

    The Limassol couple, who have been together for 10 years since the birth of their daughter, say they have been trying to get married for a decade with no success.

    Turkish Cypriots can only wed Greek Cypriots in Cyprus if they convert to Christianity, given their exclusion from a 1990 amendment permitting civil marriage ceremonies.

    The man, who refused to be named, told the Cyprus Mail that their unmarried status meant they were ostracised by their community and caused bureaucratic headaches.

    "Everywhere we go, it's a problem, particularly government offices when we have to fill out forms. Our child is in a very difficult position and people look down on us. They think we don't want to get married, but we can't," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    The vice-president of the United Democrats and former Limassol deputy, George Christofides, has written to Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou to ask that the government fund the cost of the couple's marriage, and those in similar situations.

    A bill to allow Turkish Cypriots to marry in civil ceremonies has yet to be approved by parliament.

    Christofides told the Cyprus Mail that it made financial sense for the government to pay for foreign ceremonies rather than face the embarrassment and expense of losing a case in the European Court of Human Rights.

    The government has already shelled out 8,000 in damages to a Turkish Cypriot man who had to marry his Romanian bride abroad in 1999.

    Kemal Selim had his case accepted by the ECHR last September and the government agreed to an out-of-court settlement rather than suffer the humiliation of a human rights prosecution.

    The Limassol couple would like to marry in England, where the man has relatives who could provide assistance with the arrangements.

    He was brought up in England and came to the south in 1988, shunning the occupied areas because relatives warned him about the repressive political situation and unstable economy.

    He works as a painter and decorator and his partner stays at home. Their finances are too tight to find the money for a foreign wedding themselves.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Did you work at Brentford Nylons in the '70s?

    By Jennie Matthew

    A BRITISH man on holiday in Cyprus is looking for former Greek Cypriot colleagues who worked with him in Chiswick during the 1970s.

    From 1971 to 1979, Paul Motuel worked as a manager in the group salaries section of Brentford Nylons, built up by Armenian immigrant Harry Pambakian.

    Situated on the Great West Road, close to the M4 in Chiswick, West London the company's nylon and polyester bed sheets were a household name in the 1970s and made Pambakian's fortune.

    During Motuel's time at the company, the firm grew from 200 to close to 1, 500 employees.

    "They were the golden days at Brentford. The boss and his wife witnessed their family being massacred by the Turks. He and his sister were the only ones to survive from the family. They became millionaires."

    He said mail orders fetched in 3-4 million a week. "We got 3,000 odd orders a week, and he never put the prices up," remembers Motuel.

    The company employed many Greek Cypriots, determined to come to London and earn as much money as possible before retiring to a life of leisure in Cyprus.

    "There were a lot of Greek Cypriots and I got on with so many of them. So now I'm here I'd like to get in touch again. They were lovely workers and they knew how to enjoy life. They were full of so many stories.

    "I set up a computerised payroll. None of my staff left for four years, we were so happy and enjoyed it so much," he said.

    But Panbakian fell ill and Motuel left when the company changed hands in 1979.

    He subsequently lost touch with his work mates, some of who returned to Cyprus to fight against the Turkish invasion in 1974.

    One man Motuel is looking for is Stavros Michael, who returned to his homeland to carry out his duty as a lieutenant in the army.

    Motuel is staying at the Ledra Beach Hotel in Paphos until March 6 and would love former friends to get in touch.

    Paul can be contacted at the hotel on 26-964848.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Oslo group slams its critics

    By Jean Christou

    THE OSLO group, a bicommunal initiative set up in 1997, yesterday hit back at critics of a report they issued three years ago, which has recently been branded as 'treacherous'.

    At a news conference in Nicosia, five members of the original 25 Greek Cypriots who participated in the group defended both the initiative and the report, issued in January 1999.

    Ten days ago, Politis went front page with "shocking" details from the Oslo Report, which was compiled in 1998 following extensive meetings between the group of 25 Greek Cypriots and 25 Turkish Cypriots who met in Norway.

    It was the first time that 25 people from both sides came together and agreed on the contents of a document. However, in the last week, newspapers have dredged up the report branding much of its content unacceptable.

    The group yesterday accused the media of being hypocritical and of having totally ignored the report when it was issued three years ago. Even President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to look at it, they said, although the two leaders were offered copies from their respective sides.

    "No one except for two newspapers published anything," said Oslo participant Achilleas Demetriades. The group suspects that the resurrection of the 35-page report is linked to someone's political agenda in view of the resumption of direct talks, which began on January 16.

    "It should be noted that the participants discussed these issues in a personal capacity and furthermore did not claim that the outcome of their meeting would result in a political solution," a statement from the group said yesterday.

    It went on to praise the group's Turkish Cypriot members, "who were brave enough to defend and support within their community the methodology used by the group and its final outcome, as well as the right of every Cypriot to meet and express themselves freely despite the pressure and threats they faced".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Nicosia bus drivers to strike for pay rise

    By Rita Kyriakides

    HUNDREDS of people using public transport in Nicosia will be stranded next week as bus drivers go on a 24-hour strike.

    Drivers of the Nicosia Bus Company are planning to strike on Thursday, February 21 because they will not be receiving their annual pay rise due to the company's lack of funds.

    The president of the company, Stefos Kalogiros, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the company could not afford to give any increases this year because they had not received subsidies from the government.

    "The government froze the price of fares in 1997 and made an agreement with bus companies across the island to give them money to cover any losses. We went from an open market to a controlled market," said Kalogiros.

    The agreement was made and the companies received subsidies from 1997 up to 1999, but in 2000 the Finance Ministry decided to re-evaluate the agreement.

    "The company is owed over 500,000 by the government and this has caused a serious cash flow problem preventing us from keeping our agreement to give employees their annual raise," said Kalogiros.

    Finance Officer Themis Theodosiou from the Finance Ministry said yesterday the government has been giving subsidies according to the agreement with the companies.

    "The Ministry has not stopped giving subsidies. But the companies must realise that there must be evaluations of the subsidies to justify them," said Theodosiou.

    He also said the companies were given the subsidies for the year at the beginning of the next year.

    "For example, the companies have not yet received the subsidies for 2001, but will be receiving them according to the agreement they have with the government," said Theodosiou.

    Unions PEO and SEK are not sympathetic the company's dilemma.

    PEO's Athos Eleftheriou said yesterday the company's difficulties were their own problem and should not be used as an excuse to break the agreement with the employees.

    "We will be holding a meeting during the strike next Thursday to discuss what measures we will take if the company does not agree to give the employees a raise," said Eleftheriou.

    "The company's disagreement with the government is one thing and their agreement with their employees is another," said Pantellis Stavrou from SEK.

    Stavrou also said that only the Nicosia bus drivers would be striking next week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Good news lifts BA gloom in Cyprus

    BRITISH Airways (BA) in Cyprus said yesterday that flights to the island would be increased from seven per week to nine as of April 1.

    A BA spokesman in Nicosia said they had just received the news yesterday morning, a day after the airline announced massive job cuts and the axing of several routes. There were fears that the Cyprus operation and the 30 BA staff on the island would be affected by the major changes, although it was almost a certainty that Cyprus would not be totally axed.

    The company is expected to make a public announcement on the extra flights in the next few days, the spokesman said. "It seems that we are growing," he said.

    BA on Wednesday announced 5,800 job losses, on top of the 7,200 previously slashed after September 11, and also announced that five long-haul and five short-haul routes would be cut. The airline also plans to restructure its pricing policy to make it more competitive in the face of competition from low-cost airlines.

    BA currently operates one flight a day to London Heathrow under a bilateral agreement between Britain and Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Cheese makers call off strike

    CHEESE makers called off a strike threatened for yesterday, when an eleventh-hour compromise deal over milk allocation was finally reached with the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) on Wednesday night.

    The deal was cemented at 11pm - just one hour before the cheese maker's planned work stoppage to protest over their 'second-class status' in the distribution of the nation's restricted milk output.

    "We're satisfied with the outcome. There are over 1,000 new cattle set aside to produce milk, which will give us an extra 10 to 12 million litres a year, an increase of about 10 per cent," said the president of the cheese maker's organisation, Athos Pittas.

    He added that the new milk would bolster cheese production and allow Cypriot exports to compete better abroad with halloumi exports from Lebanon and Greece.

    More than 1,000 cows escaped the slaughterhouse this year to boost the dairy industry, which routinely fails to match supply with demand.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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