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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-06-19

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, June 19, 1999


Job Centre



/ Health Ministry 'cover-up' on drugs



_ yesterday issued a front-page challenge to Health Minister Christos Solomis, alleging he was guilty of trying to cover up the drug shortage "scandal" at state hospitals.

The paper, which first broke the story about "dangerous" shortages of medicine for kidney patients at hospitals, said the minister had ordered Health officials not to talk to reporters about the issue. The minister had turned Cyprus Airways "upside-down" on Thursday in an effort to get the drugs flown in double quick, the paper claimed.

"Mister Minister, you must throw light on the case and apportion blame," the paper trumpeted.

The paper also took on the House, condemning deputies for their failure to approve the 1999 defence budget at the plenum on Thursday night. Deputies appeared indifferent to the fact that delays in passing the bill were putting national security on the line. The postponement of the debate was for "no good reason," the paper stated. Disy deputies forced a postponement of the budget vote because they had to leave early to attend gatherings ahead of Sunday's party leadership elections.

The delay in approving the budget was already causing serious problems for National Guard procurement programmes, the paper reported.


_ reported on two teenage girls who had been admitted to a Nicosia hospital "in a comatose state" after being "dumped" outside their parents' homes in the early hours. Police, who were investigating, believed the two girls -- aged 13 and 14 -- may have taken drugs or combined alcohol with some kind of tablets, the paper reported. But the two youngsters were refusing to speak to investigating officers so police were seeking the girls' friends who had been out on the town with them on the night of the incident.

Akel mouthpiece Haravghi devoted most of its front page to anti-US statements by party leader Demetris Christofias.

Christofias was defending his party's pro-Serb stance over the Kosovo crisis, a stance which has reportedly angered the US embassy in Nicosia. "International Crime Perpetrated by Nato," was the Haravghi headline for the story, capturing the tone of the Akel leader's statements. "We are proud of the Akel stance. We are supporting a friendly people and the principles of international justice," Christofias is quoted as saying in defence of Akel's pro-Serb approach.

Right-wing Alithia quoted Nato representatives saying alliance troops had found evidence of tens of thousands of Albanians having been killed by Serbs in Kosovo. The same front-page story included detailed accounts of Serb atrocities as unearthed by Nato forces.

The report represented a shift from the local media's customary pro-Serb stance.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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