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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-07-27

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

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


Saturday, July 27, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Power strike called off
  • [02] Mobile units to test Limassol pollution
  • [03] Share prices end down yet again
  • [04] Government not concerned about UN proposals, just worried about timing
  • [05] House to approve criteria for university accreditation
  • [06] Perdikis accuses government of sell-out over Antenna
  • [07] Limassol Bishop admits to large deficit
  • [08] Desalination workers threaten strike
  • [09] Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'
  • [10] Ministry calls for marina tenders
  • [11] Milosevic millions: Markides hits back

  • [01] Power strike called off

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    UNIONS representing Electricity Authority (EAC) workers yesterday called off the 48-hour strike that would have severely hit the island next week.

    The two sides in the dispute agreed to hold a series of meetings today to bridge their differences in the renewal of collective employment agreements.

    The trades unions are in dispute with the government over the delay in renewing the agreements and satisfying their demands. The EAC was acting as a mediator between the workers and the Finance Ministry.

    Andreas Panarkos, a union representative, said after a late meeting yesterday: "Because of our responsibility to the public, we have decided to comply with the request by the management to call off the strike planned to start on Tuesday."

    EAC spokesman Costas Gavrielides said the authority was satisfied with the outcome of yesterday's contacts with the unions. He believed the collective agreement would be signed given that the gap between the two sides was small.

    Finance Minister Takis Klerides said he was pleased with the outcome of yesterday's meeting but felt further negotiations were needed on the issue of wage increases.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Mobile units to test Limassol pollution

    By a Staff Reporter

    EXPERTS will soon be testing pollution levels in Limassol to produce the first official results on the quality of the air.

    Reports said yesterday traffic-congested areas, such as the spot on Makarios Avenue in front of the Lanitio High School, would be singled out for pollution tests.

    The study on the effects of car emissions on the environment will be financed by the European Union under the framework of EU harmonisation. The Limassol municipalities, with technical support from the Labour Ministry, will be working in close co-operation with the EU on the project.

    The Labour Ministry has already completed environmental tests, using mobile pollution units, near the Nemitsas foundry and intends to forward the results to the House, which is studying the matter, once they have been processed.

    Reports said that a study prepared by foreign and Cypriot experts some years ago, confirmed that "Limassol's biggest enemy is the car, given the correlation between the higher emission of pollutants and the ever increasing number of vehicles."

    The new study entails the systematic recording of emissions in central parts of town as well as residential areas where industry is present and is set to commence shortly.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Share prices end down yet again

    By a Staff Reporter

    SHARE prices yesterday ended the week in the red, continuing a downward trend that will not go away as the bourse sinks deeper and deeper, mired by allegations and investigations.

    The all-share index hit another new low, ending at 83.3 points or 0.82 per cent down, while the FTSE/CySE blue chips index ended with a gain of 0.31 per cent.

    Trading opened in the red and stayed well under Thursday's close the entire session, while volume closed at 664,807.

    While banks were the losers all week, yesterday they managed to rally, and mainly accounted for the turnaround in the fortunes of the FTSE/CySE. The banking sector still ended in the red, down 0.21 per cent, after Laiki shed two cents to 1.11. Both Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic gained one cent each to 1.36 and 0.71 cents respectively.

    Only one sub sector, tourism, showed gains after adding 0.6 per cent. All other sectors were down, between 0.09 per cent for insurance and 6.5 per cent, for financial services.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Government not concerned about UN proposals, just worried about timing

    By Jena Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT does not intend to shelve the Cyprus problem until after the island's accession to the EU, spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday.

    Commenting on statements made on Thursday by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides that the UN should think twice about submitting a written proposal for a solution due to political instability in Turkey, Papapetrou said the minister was speaking only in terms of timing.

    "Mr Cassoulides did not say anything against the submission of a proposal," Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail. "He was talking only about the timing, nothing else. The policy of the government is clear. We are not against the submission of any proposal. The minister was only talking about timing."

    Papapetrou dismissed as unfounded any reports that the government was thinking of adopting one of the scenarios contained in an American think- tank report on Cyprus, which suggested shelving the talks until after EU accession.

    At the beginning of this month, the Brookings Institute advised the US government to defer a Cyprus solution until Turkey was also in a position to join the EU or to face an unavoidable regional crisis. The report said there was no guarantee that the renewed talks between the leaders of the two sides would produce a deal and that Americans and other interested observers should be prepared for a scenario in which the parties could not overcome their differences and the EU extended an invitation to join that would only apply to the Greek Cypriots. Deferring a Cyprus settlement until Turkey could join the EU would reassure Turkish Cypriots, give Turkey an added incentive to continue down the European path, and give Greece and the Greek Cypriots an incentive to promote Turkey's EU membership, the report concluded.

    "All this talks about putting aside the Cyprus problem until after accession are just personal opinions," Papapetrou said. "The government wants to solve the Cyprus problem now and is trying for that. It is not agreeing to put it aside."

    The talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf continued yesterday in the absence of their aides at the suggestion of UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto. "They discussed what they would do in view of the difficulties in the talks and so De Soto said they should go alone," Papapetrou said.

    Discussions also took place on the issue of missing person in the presence of UNFICYP Chief of Mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz.

    Papapetrou told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that Denktash would present his views on the issue of territory during his next meeting with President Clerides on Tuesday.

    Papapetrou added that on the issue of missing persons, discussions would continue, despite the fact that there were "difficulties and different opinions".

    Talks have been going on since mid-January.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] House to approve criteria for university accreditation

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    CRITERIA for private colleges to become universities will be submitted to the House by September, the Education Ministry's Permanent Secretary said yesterday.

    All private higher educational institutions are considered colleges according to tertiary education law, explained Petros Kareklas. The term 'university' can only be used if the Education Minister is satisfied that the institutions fulfil certain criteria. But Kareklas highlighted that "these criteria have never been specified before, leaving a gap in the law."

    The proposed legislation allows private institutions to submit proposals, with the objective of proving they fulfil the set criteria necessary to graduate from colleges to universities.

    Kareklas said the situation at present allowed private institutions to award graduate and postgraduate degrees without being given the opportunity to be recognised as universities.

    The criteria are composed of standard conditions set for most universities, said Kareklas, covering personnel, courses, facilities and other areas. He added that a stumbling block had been reached over whether private institutions had to be non-profit organisations, but decided after receiving opinion from the Attorney-general's office that it was not harmful for universities to seek to make profit.

    Relevant bodies will evaluate college proposals and make recommendations to the Education Minister, who will have the final say.

    Also scheduled for the plenum this autumn is legislation that will open the doors for foreign universities to establish branches in Cyprus, as part of the harmonisation process. Prohibitive regulations will be lifted, giving not only the right to Cypriots but to Europeans to set up educational institutions in Cyprus.

    The bill is already before the cabinet awaiting approval, and is expected to be submitted to the House in October.

    The legislation will only take effect once Cyprus joins the EU. Reports said that many British universities had shown interest in establishing branches in Cyprus to attract students from the surrounding area as well as the large number of Cypriots who pursue higher education, injecting millions into the institutions.

    The reason for this huge interest is that when Cyprus joins the EU, Cypriots will be paying as much as other EU students in fees. Europeans now pay around 1,100 a year, while Cypriots pay up to 10,000.

    "Market forces will regulate who will stay and who will go, depending on the choice of informed decision-makers," said Kareklas on the possible increase of foreign universities in Cyprus.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Perdikis accuses government of sell-out over Antenna

    By a Staff Reporter

    GREEN deputy George Perdikis yesterday accused the government of consenting to the erection of a huge British military aerial in the Akrotiri salt lake on the condition that the British would not react to the installation of a National Guard radar on the Troodos mountain.

    Speaking at a news conference in Limassol, Perdikis said the government had agreed to the antenna in exchange for the radar being deployed next to British radars on Mount Olympus, and the British allowing the construction of a desalination unit within the base area of Akrotiri.

    Perdikis said he would table the issue in the next session of the National Council and ask the government to explain.

    Perdikis said his party had made suggestions to the government, which were apparently ignored.

    Among other things, the Greens had asked the government publicly to declare its opposition to the aerial and stop any further co-operation with the British.

    Perdikis said his party would write to the British prime minister and the Queen to protest against British forces' behaviour during demonstrations against the antenna at Akrotiri.

    He said further demonstrations would be held in the UK, while European MEPs were expected to visit Akrotiri to express their opposition to the aerial.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Limassol Bishop admits to large deficit

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE LIMASSOL Bishopric has a deficit of 384,000 for 2001, Bishop Athanassios told a news conference yesterday.

    Contributions to the diocese, however, were up considerably, reaching 693, 000, the Bishop said.

    In an unprecedented move, Athanassios held a news conference where he presented his bishopric's financial situation.

    He explained that contributions from the public were deposited in separate accounts and were only used for the specific reasons they were contributed for.

    Concerning the management of the bishopric's financial affairs, Athanassios said efforts were under way for all decisions to go through a number of committees in order to ensure transparency.

    Athanassios said there were various projects under way, including a children's camping site in Saittas that would be ready in October, adding that a drug detoxification centre and a home for elderly priests were also in the pipeline.

    The Limassol Bishop refused to comment on the Archbishopric's financial affairs saying only that the Church of Cyprus was going through difficult times.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Desalination workers threaten strike

    By Soteris Charalambous

    WORKERS at the Pelagos desalination plant in Larnaca have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from next Tuesday unless their demands are met by then.

    PEO, the union representing 17 of the 22-man workforce employed at the plant that processes seawater into drinking water, decided to take industrial action after negotiations between management and union members ended in deadlock.

    According to the union, the dispute centres on their members' unwillingness to enter into personal contracts with their employers. Achilleas Demosthenous, PEO representative for the workers, blames the situation on company officials and their unwillingness to enter into collective agreements and threatened to carry out all legal measures necessary to defend their demands. The union also claims that the company is trying to force their personnel into signing personal employment contracts using "pressure", "blackmail" and "threats".

    But the manager of the plant, Phanos Paritechis, yesterday denied the union's claims. "Employees (at the plant) have not been coerced in any way to sign agreements at any time," said Paritechis. "Negotiations with the union took place for two months but unfortunately ended in deadlock." Asked why the negotiations broke down, Paritechis refused to apportion blame to either side, adding: "The Company is continuing in its efforts to resolve the differences for the mutual interests of both staff and company."

    The plant manager refuted fears that the action, which coincides with possible disruptions to the power supply threatened by electricity workers unions, could cause problems to the water supply to Nicosia, Larnaca and Famagusta. "The plant will remain in operation under any circumstances providing water to our customer the Water Development Department," he said.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    By George Psyllides

    DISY Chairman Nicos Anastassiades has complained to the Journalists Union that AKEL-controlled Haravghi has been systematically distorting his party's written statements, it was reported yesterday.

    In a letter to the chairman of the union, Andreas Kannaouros, Anastassiades reported "the systematic and flagrant falsification and distortion of the party's written statements" by Haravghi.

    "The unorthodox and unethical practice of distortion and misleading headlines, which have nothing to do with the text they supposedly report, leads readers to make the wrong assumptions or even worse, to the pillory of respected and well established personalities of the country's public life," the letter said.

    Anastassiades was alluding to two Haravghi reports: the first was published on July 16 under the headline "Tassos, you're the best" and was referring to a letter allegedly written by DISY in which DIKO Chairman Tassos Papadopoulos was being proposed for House president.

    "If you read my letter carefully, you will find that there is nothing like that," Anastassiades said.

    The second report was published on July 24 and claimed that Anastassiades considered the suggestion for DISY former chairman Yiannakis Matsis to stand as candidate a joke.

    Anastassiades said the publication was the culmination of a "committed and propagandist attempt".

    The DISY Chief wrote to the newspaper asking that they print a retraction: "I feel there is a violation of the code of ethics since statements I have never made are attributed to me in a flagrant and systematic manner".

    On the election front this week, AKEL on Wednesday confirmed what was already common knowledge when its central committee endorsed the decision to back Papadopoulos in the elections.

    AKEL officials, however, have since refused to disclose the decision even though it was announced by Papadopoulos himself later on the same day.

    Anastassiades said that it was a well-known fact that AKEL was going to back Papadopoulos and that when he was betting his party leadership on the fact he was not really taking any risks.

    AKEL Spokesman Nicos Katsourides, however, insisted that there had not been any previous decision to back Papadopoulos.

    And DIKO's deputy chairman on Thursday said it was not about winning bets but winning the elections, only to receive a stinging reply from Anastassiades yesterday: "I heard similar statements in 1993 and 1998 and unfortunately they remained just that."

    The past two elections have been won by Glafcos Clerides backed by DISY.

    AKEL's decision to back Papadopoulos, however, still needs the endorsement of the party conference, which takes place today.

    According to reports in yesterday's Politis, the party is taking measures to prevent anything from leaking and has banned the media from the conference.

    Polits said AKEL had asked the management of the Nicosia conference centre to make sure that none of the centre's employees could access the hall, and in the cases of workers who might need to be at the entrance or the canteen AKEL has asked for their names to be disclosed to the party beforehand.

    Katsourides said yesterday he knew nothing about such measures, but did confirm the conference would be closed to the media.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Ministry calls for marina tenders

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE MINISTRY of Commerce, Industry and Tourism has announced invitations to tender for five marinas under the Build-Operate-Transfer method (BOT).

    According to a government press release, marinas will be built at Paphos, Larnaca, Paralimni, Ayia Napa and Limassol.

    The Paphos Marina will be constructed at the Potima area in Kissonerga and will have a capacity of 1,000 vessels. The Limassol Marina will be built to the west of the old port and will also have a capacity of 1,000 vessels. The Ayios Raphael Marina in Limassol will continue to operate with a capacity of 250 vessels. In Larnaca, the existing Marina will be extended so that its current capacity of 450 vessels will expand to 1,000 vessels.

    The Ayia Napa Marina will be constructed at the Loumata area and will have a capacity of 600 vessels, and the Paralimni Marina will be built near the fishing shelter and will have a capacity of 250 vessels.

    According to the announcement, the marinas will help enhance maritime tourism, which will serve strategic goals for enriching the island's tourist product and improving seasonality.

    The marinas are expected to have a comparative advantage to those of Greece, Turkey and Israel, due to the island's geographic position.

    The projects are also expected to enhance other activities such as maritime sports and off-coast cruises, and create new jobs in the sectors of repairing, maintaining and servicing vessels.

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Milosevic millions: Markides hits back

    By Jean Christou

    ALECOS Markides, the Attorney-general, hit back yesterday at claims in the UK Financial Times (FT) that he failed to properly investigate allegations made against the law firm of DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos by a Yugoslav woman who said a dubious offshore company was registered in her name without her knowledge.

    Earlier this week, the FT ran two articles on the reported Cyprus link with the Milosevic millions, focusing first on the alleged involvement of the Cyprus Popular Bank and then Papadopoulos and his law firm.

    The firm was cited in a June report by Morten Torkildsen, an investigator with the Office of Carla del Ponte, Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

    His report said that over 1.23 billion in Cyprus pounds, around $1.97 billion dollars, was funneled between 1992 and 2000 by Slobodan Milosevic and his cohorts through eight offshore companies in Cyprus, which were registered by Papadopoulos. Funds from the were distributed to accounts held by companies and individuals located in more than 50 countries. "In my career, I have never encountered or heard of an offshore finance structure this large and intricate," the investigator said.

    Torkildsen said that at least two of the companies were registered without the knowledge of persons named as their beneficial directors. A number of these "front" companies held accounts with the Cyprus Popular Bank and the European Popular Bank, the report said.

    The FT said its own investigation revealed that instead of taking measures against Yugoslav sanctions-busting, leading members of Cyprus' close-knit elite facilitated the transactions. The scale of the island's involvement with Belgrade has revived concerns about Cyprus' commitment to implementing international anti-money-laundering practices at a time when the island's bid to join the European Union in 2004 is under negotiation, said the newspaper.

    "When Ljiljana Radenkovic, an employee of Anglo Yugoslav Bank, Beogradska's UK subsidiary, complained last year that Mr Papadopoulos' firm had made her the beneficial owner of Antexol (a Yugoslav front company) without her knowledge, Mr Markides decided against launching an investigation," the FT said. "Instead he referred Mrs Radenkovic's complaint to the disciplinary board of the Cyprus lawyers' association. The association, which is headed by a partner in Mr Papadopoulos' firm, cleared him of any wrongdoing. Mrs Radenkovic said she would open legal proceedings in Cyprus against Mr Papadopoulos," the paper added.

    Markides yesterday defended his role in the controversy, saying that Radenkovic's evidence clashed with that held by the legal services department and that there was nothing to justify a case against Papadopoulos' law firm.

    "During the procedure initiated by the disciplinary council she changed her story, which came into conflict with other evidence in the case," Markides said.

    Slamming the FT report, he said that it contained little other than what was already included in the Torkildsen report. This, he said, was compiled following a visit to the island by Torkildsen who was given every assistance by the authorities, and for which the War Crimes Tribunal expressed its appreciation.

    The FT concluded that the bankers and politicians who were involved sounded embarrassed rather than repentant.

    Quoting from an interview Papadopoulos had last month with Politis, the FT said the DIKO leader defended the activities of the offshore companies. He said: "We're not talking about the laundering of dirty money. It was the money of the Yugoslav state, which they [the companies] were transferring to break the US embargo."

    Markides said yesterday it was not right to target Cyprus when other countries were also involved. "The money might have come to Cyprus but didn't stay in Cyprus," he said. "If someone somewhere tricked Cyprus and its services that is the question and investigations on this are under way."

    Anastassiades slams Haravghi 'distortions'

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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