/ Economic stories dominate front pages
A VARIETY of local stories made an appearance on yesterday's front pages,
with the government's planned economic measures being given prominence.
_ reported that political parties had made it clear that approval of the
tax package would depend on the government having the political will to
sort out public finances, modernising the public service and offering
social benefits to lower income groups. The parties insist that the
government's effort to reduce the fiscal deficit should not be confined to
Minister of Finance Takis Clerides is to have the third round of talks with
party leaders next week, in order to persuade them to support the
government's measures. At present, some members of opposition parties are
divided over what to do, with some calling for the forging of an anti-
government front. More moderate members want to co-operate with the
government on condition that it adopts suggestions about the economy made
by the opposition parties.
_ said the "the hour of truth has arrived for the airports", as the
government had tabled a supplementary budget, which would pave the way for
the development of the airport in co-operation with the private sector. The
government wants approval for £800,000, which would be used to pay the
consultants for a study, outlining the legal framework, terms and condition
for the participation of a strategic investor in the project.
The paper said that the parliamentary parties would have to take a stand
about the issue but three (Edek, Akel, Diko) have already protested because
the government had not consulted them before tabling the supplementary
budget bill to the House. All three have warned they would not vote for the
bill unless the government convinced them of the need for the study.
_ did not have a lead story but its lead headline, "Three hot questions
need an answer", referred to three consumer-related stories featured on its
inside pages. The first concerned the paper's revelation that the Ministry
of Health had neglected to order medication for kidney-sufferers because of
irregularities in the tender procedure. The Auditor-general was
The second incident involved the importation of rotten lamb chops from
Brazil, which were repackaged with Spain being given as the country of
origin because the import duty was much lower. Lamb cutlets which had
passed their expiry date had also been imported. Finally, the paper quoted
the head of the Veterinary Services as saying that fish feed from Belgium
had been impounded.
_ said that the Public Health Co-ordinating Committee was expected to
decide whether to lift the ban on Belgian products suspected of containing
dioxin. The committee had studied an EU decision allowing Belgium to export
products as long as these were accompanied with a suitability certificate.
It was expected that the EU decision would be adopted.
_ said that the Belgian government's attempt at a cover-up of the dioxin
scandal had angered many European countries, which now found it difficult
to accept the "suitability certificates" being issued by Belgium. Cyprus
authorities were sceptical about the reliability of the certificates, but
could do nothing as there were no labs on the island that could test
products for dioxin.
_ hailed the 8.68 per cent of the vote taken by the Communist Party of
Greece in Sunday's Euro Elections as "a very important victory for the
genuine interests of the Greek people".
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999