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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-12-28

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

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


Saturday, December 28, 2002

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Anger after two more killed on 'road of death'
  • [02] Vassiliou: postpone elections until the summer
  • [03] Ministry pledges to fix leaky roof
  • [04] Christmas road deaths up on last year
  • [05] Retailers slam strike for poor Christmas sales
  • [06] Share prices in unexplained plunge
  • [07] Happy txtmas

  • [01] Anger after two more killed on 'road of death'

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE authorities were accused of complacency yesterday after two people were killed on the new Ayia Napa to Paralimni road in the fourth fatal accident since it was opened 18 months ago.

    The two young men were killed in a horrific road accident on Boxing Day at a stretch that horrified residents have dubbed the 'Road of Death'.

    Nineteen-year-old conscript George Kkaras, who plays football for the Paralimni team, and his close friend, student Savvas Mavroudis, 21, were killed after their car was rammed on the side by another car carrying four passengers, who were lightly wounded.

    The impact was so violent that the car the two friends were travelling in was cut in two while the other car stopped around 30 metres down from the collision point.

    The accident happened at around 4.45am.

    The two friends, returning home to Paralimni from a night out, had just stopped for sandwiches from a vendor at a petrol station.

    Kkaras, who was driving Mavroudis' car, drove a short distance towards Ayia Napa to a set of traffic lights allowing him to return to the lane going towards Paralimni.

    But as he was turning, the car was hit by a Mercedes, thought to have been travelling at high speed, from the direction of Ayia Napa.

    The collision ejected the two friends onto the island in the middle of the junction. They died instantly.

    The latest lethal accident on the road has sparked outrage among Paralimni residents, who claim the way it was designed was extremely dangerous.

    DISY deputy Antonis Karas yesterday charged the road had been designed with specific financial interests in mind and pledged to examine the issue further by calling experts to give their views.

    "It is unacceptable that authorities designed a road to serve one or two people," Karas said.

    He added that the exits to the road were lethal and accused police of not patrolling the road despite the well-known dangers.

    "If one police car patrolled the road then many accidents would have been avoided," Karas said.

    The particular stretch is littered with traffic lights; residents say some are highly confusing with green filters confusing drivers.

    Residents yesterday demanded the construction of flyovers to ensure safe entries onto both sides of the road.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Vassiliou: postpone elections until the summer

    CYPRUS' chief European Union negotiator and United Democrats chairman George Vassiliou yesterday suggested the presidential elections be postponed until July - the end of the Greek presidency of the European Union.

    Speaking after meeting President Glafcos Clerides, Vassiliou said the impetus for his suggestion was the massive anti-Denktash rally by Turkish Cypriots on Thursday.

    "The message they sent to everyone in Cyprus and abroad, and I believe to Turkey especially, was that we must have a solution, the island should be reunited in order to secure everyone's future and security," Vassiliou said.

    "(We) should do everything possible for a solution; I suggest the postponement of the elections until the end of the Greek presidency."

    He defended his position saying the postponement would send the right message, and encourage Europe, the US and the UN Security Council to intensify their efforts to solve the problem.

    Vassiliou said there are two clear choices: "One is to deny all human rights to the refugees and the others and turn the Green Line into a border, and the other solution is within the framework of the UN plan," he said.

    He said acceptance of his proposal was possible.

    "Deep down we can all have different policies regarding various things but I do not want to accuse anyone of lack of patriotism," Vassiliou said.

    He said the issue was whether the big parties would agree and suggested that DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos, as the most important candidate in the elections, should take the initiative.

    "Mr. Papadopoulos himself should propose to the House to make this decision, which should be unanimous, and then we should have the elections in July," Vassiliou said.

    "If we do have a solution then everything changes; if we do not, Mr. Papadopoulos has to gain from such a move," he added.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, speaking in a personal capacity, described Vassiliou's proposal as very interesting.

    "I am sure the people he is addressing, and they are not the government, will study the proposal carefully," Papapetrou said.

    He added that the government did not wish to comment on the matter at this point.

    The spokesman explained that the Greek presidency of the EU and the activity around the Cyprus problem could create conditions that were worthy of consideration by the parties.

    Papapetrou said Clerides had still not revealed anything to him about his own intentions on whether or not to stand for re-election.

    "I think the President keeps any thoughts on the issue sealed in his mind and when he announces them you will find out as well as I," Papapetrou said.

    He added that Clerides did not need anyone's advice on the matter, noting that in the past his own "supposed advice" had become the focus of "malicious abuse".

    Papadopoulos described the proposal as an attempt to remain in power.

    "It is the last resort to cling on to power," the DIKO leader said.

    He said it would give a stronger message if such desperate efforts to stay in power were abandoned and the negotiations were dealt with seriously.

    "All the scenarios we have heard in the past three months concerned not having the elections - having a government of national unity, postponing the elections, cancelling constitutional provisions, which are the strongest protection shield of this state," Papadopoulos said.

    He added: "And now the new proposal for everyone to withdraw so that a DISY candidate would stay in power."

    DISY chief Nicos Anastassiades, who met Clerides yesterday morning, said they did not discuss the upcoming presidential elections.

    He added that it was a clearly personal issue concerning the President.

    KISOS leader and presidential candidate Yiannakis Omirou reiterated yesterday that his candidacy could only be re-examined in the event of prospects for a solution and widespread support for a short extension of Clerides' term.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] Ministry pledges to fix leaky roof

    By a Staff Reporter

    A REFUGEE family from Galini who spent three years wading in pools of water during the winter rains because the Town Planning Department failed to carry out repairs is to have its roof repaired early next month, the authorities said yesterday.

    In a letter to the Cyprus Mail, which highlighted the family's plight on December 21, the department said a contract had now been awarded for repairs to the roofs on the government housing estate in Strovolos and that work would begin next month.

    Only a week ago, Michalis Constantinou, 50, from Strovolos Refugee Estate 3, told the Cyprus Mail how he had been battling with up to 15 centimetres of water in the bungalow he shares with his wife and daughter after the recent heavy rains.

    He said he had put planks of wood on the ceiling and that the walls were crumbling, while the living room and his daughter's bedroom had to be covered with plastic sheets to keep out the water.

    Constantinou informed the Town Planning department three years ago that there was a problem, but the authorities kept putting his house and two others on the back burner and telling them they would have to wait yet another year due to lack of funding.

    In the meantime the water had seeped into the walls and floors of the house, causing the walls to flake and the plaster to drop.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [04] Christmas road deaths up on last year

    By a Staff Reporter

    FATAL accidents over Christmas were up this year, despite the presence of over 70 police officers in the island's motorways during Christmas and Boxing Day, police said yesterday.

    Police said three people died this year in two separate car accidents, in the period December 22-26, while only one person died during the same period last year.

    However, the total number of accidents decreased compared to last year. According to the report, 37 accidents took place in four days this Christmas, compared to 45 during the same period last year.

    Nicosia traffic police yesterday warned drivers that Alco-test units would be on high alert during the build up to the New Year celebrations.

    "All officers in squad cars will be equipped with preliminary alcohol testing equipment," a duty officer said.

    "They are not 100 per cent accurate, but if a driver is found to have gone over the limit, his car will be immobilised and he will be taken to the nearest police station for a proper test.

    "We had over 70 police officers working during Christmas and Boxing Day in order to ensure safety of our drivers," the officer said.

    "We urge all drivers to drive with caution and not under the influence of alcohol. We don't want to see any more deaths this year."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [05] Retailers slam strike for poor Christmas sales

    By Alex Mita

    THERE were mixed feelings among shop owners in Nicosia as they began totting up Christmas sales yesterday, with large chains relatively happy, while smaller businesses complained that a recent JCC strike had nearly wiped them out.

    Alexis Fylactou, the manager of Woolworth's in Ledra Street, said sales had been relatively good this year.

    "Apart from the trouble we had with credit cards after JCC went on strike, we are satisfied with this year's sales," he said.

    "We did feel a slight impact during the strike because even though we had the customers, they did not carry large amounts of money on them in cash. You don't just carry 1,000 worth of cash when you go shopping, and not having cash made our customers a little bit cautious in their shopping."

    The manager of Next at Ledra, however, said sales were already down this year compared to 2001, but the three-week long JCC strike further worsened the chain's sales during the Christmas period.

    "We had to start accepting cheques again because people would just not shop, " he said.

    But smaller businesses were the most affected by the strike as they depend on Christmas to rejuvenate their ailing businesses.

    "People did not shop as much this year," said Leontios Moschatos, a clothes shop owner.

    "The credit card strike created a very big problem, and sales have gone down critically. Shoppers would book the item they wanted because they didn't have the cash to buy it, so they would leave a small deposit and pick their clothes up when they received their 13th salary."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [06] Share prices in unexplained plunge

    By a Staff Reporter

    SHARE prices plunged almost five per cent yesterday, the first day of trading following the Christmas break, with blue chips taking 6.5 per cent hammering as investors hurried to dump bank stocks with no apparent reason.

    Trading opened at 97 points and slid into an irreversible decline to close 90 minutes later at 93 on a volume of 2.2 million. The FTSE/CySE ended at 360 points.

    All sectors except fisheries were down - between 2.4 per cent for tourism to 6.7 per cent for insurance companies. The banking sector dropped 6.06 per cent with Bank of Cyprus (BoC) and Laiki coming under heavy pressure that led to losses of 12 cents and six cents respectively, putting both at the top of the most-traded list. Laiki ended at 1.25 and BoC at 1.34 after 1.2 million worth of its shares changed hands. Only 14 stocks showed any gains compared to 63 decliners and 80 that closed unchanged.

    At the beginning of the month, the market had been on the up and up as investors looked forward to the good news of Cyprus` accession to the EU at the summit in Copenhagen on December 12-13. However, since then, the index has gone into a new decline.

    "There are no reasons for this meltdown that has commenced after the Copenhagen summit," said the xak.com analyst yesterday. "The looming war in Iraq is not to blame and analysts as well as investors are short of making sense of this bearish trend."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [07] Happy txtmas

    By a Staff Reporter

    FIVE times more mobile phone text messages were sent out this year on Christmas Day than the same day last year," CyTA confirmed yesterday.

    A spokesman at the telecommunications authority declined to give out the actual figure, but reports put the number of text messages sent at 360,000. Many mobile phone users reported having difficulty in sending messages out on Christmas Day due to the heavy traffic. The CyTA spokesman said there was a combination of reasons for the increase in number of texts sent out this year. In October, CyTA dropped the price of text messages from two cents to one. It also gave customers the first 30 messages of the month free of charge. "There are also more phones out there now," he said, adding that market penetration had now reached 60 per cent or 400,000 mobiles in use out of a population of some 750,000. The CyTA spokesman said voice traffic was not affected by the upsurge in texting.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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