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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-12-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Proximity talks resume tomorrow
  • [02] Man remanded in ‘cabaret girl abduction’ probe
  • [03] Cyprus Airways on Y2K test flights
  • [04] £4.5m award for boy after doctors’ negligence
  • [05] Precious little optimism from the man in the street
  • [06] Shots fired in police drugs sting
  • [07] New endemic plant discovered

  • [01] Proximity talks resume tomorrow

    THE SECURITY Council will discuss Cyprus on Tuesday and Wednesday while proximity talks continue in New York, the UN Secretary-general's spokesman has said.

    The talks, which opened on Friday with separate meetings between Secretary-general Kofi Annan and the leaders of the two communities, will resume tomorrow.

    Annan's spokesman Fred Eckhard said that Cyprus will also be discussed by the Security Council during the week and a formal meeting will also be held on the renewal of Unficyp's six-monthly mandate.

    During his one-hour meeting with Annan on Friday, President GlafcosClerides outlined the Greek Cypriot side's position on the four fundamental aspects of the Cyprus issue.

    These were distribution of power, security, property and territory.

    After meeting Clerides, Annan spent an hour with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Annan's only hope for the talks is that they will lead to direct negotiations.

    After his meetings with both leaders, Annan -- who has imposed a news blackout on the talks -- said: "As long as we are talking, we are making progress."

    Britains Cyprus envoy Sir David Hannay, who was scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday, told BBC radio yesterday that only the idea of a bizonal bicommunal federation in Cyprus makes sense.

    "What is clear is that the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots will run a lot of their affairs in their own sectors, masters of their own house," he said. "It will be different than the Cyprus of the past".

    Commenting on Turkey's EU aspirations at the Helsinki summit this week, Hannay said there is no immediate prospect of Turkey joining the EU. "There is no question about that, not even of starting accession negotiations."

    [02] Man remanded in cabaret girl abduction probe

    A 32-year-old Pontian man was yesterday remanded on suspicion of impersonating a police officer in an apparent effort to abduct a Nicosia cabaret dancing girl.

    The Nicosia District Court heard that Petros Tosounides and another man had approached a Ukrainian cabaret artiste in central Nicosia on Thursday night. Tosounides allegedly told the girl he was a police officer and that she had to accompany him and his friend to the immigration department for checks.

    According to a complaint the Ukrainian woman made to police, the two men drove her to a phone box and told her to ring her place of work to ask for the night off. The cabaret girl says her colleagues at the cabaret told her they had seen the two men driving her away and had informed police. The two men allegedly let the Ukrainian go only after she told them that police had been alerted.

    Tosounides was arrested by police and was yesterday remanded for eight days.

    Police were yesterday still searching for his suspected accomplice.

    [03] Cyprus Airways on Y2K test flights

    By Jean Christou

    AIRLINES operating to and from Cyprus, including Cyprus Airways (CY), will not have any aircraft in the sky at midnight on New Year's Eve as a millennium bug precaution.

    The biggest problem for airlines facing the Y2K glitch is not a matter of whether planes are safe, but concern that civil aviation authorities in some countries may not have prepared in time to meet the problem, CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said.

    Tomorrow the airline will operate two test flights to check the systems on its Airbus A310 and A320 as part of its Y2K programme. The flights, during which pilots will zero their computer systems, will be to Rhodes and back.

    "We have reassurances from Airbus Industrie that the planes have been checked and are okay," Angelis said.

    "The problem is down to civil aviation and air traffic controllers in other countries. Some of them are very late (in complying). We are waiting to see if they can make the changes, and if not we will cancel all flights to these destinations. We are not going to operate any flight if we are unsure about safety."

    The main destinations of concern to the airline are Russia and Syria. Russia is receiving a lot of outside help but Syria is reported to be behind schedule.

    CY pilots are also concerned about flying over some eastern European countries, according to Pasipy chairman Chris Christodoulou. He said all of the airline's unions plans to meet next Friday to discuss the situation.

    As a further precaution, international aviation organisations have asked that military airports be authorised to handle commercial traffic during the uncertain period.

    British Bases spokesman Rob Need told The Sunday Mail that they have not been approached by any authorities so far regarding the issue. He said, however, that military airstrips are marked on all global runway maps. "Airfields would always be made available for an emergency," Need said. "A ship would never refuse to assist another ship in distress."

    The last incoming CY flight on New Year's Eve will land by 8pm, and no other flight will leave the island until 7am on January 1.

    Both the German airline Lufthansa and British Airways have a minimum 24-hour gap in arrivals and departures to the island over the New Year period, although BA will have 20 flights in the air in various parts of the world at midnight.

    BA's Cyprus manager Peter Louca said the last inbound flight to Cyprus from the UK will be on December 30 at 3am and the last departure at 4.20am the same day.

    There will be no BA flights on December 31 or January 1 to Cyprus. "This is not because of any problem related to the millennium bug," Louca said. He said there is usually no demand for any flights during the period.

    The last Lufthansa inbound flight will arrive in Larnaca on December 31 at 6.55am from Frankfurt. The next Cyprus-related flight will be outbound from Frankfurt on January 1 at 9.30am, arriving in Cyprus at 2.15pm.

    Greece's Olympic Airways has not altered its schedule so far and has three flights on December 31, the last one departing Larnaca for Athens at 9pm.

    So far neither CY cabin crew nor pilots have any qualms about flying the aircraft, but they have expressed concern at having to overfly certain countries whose air traffic control systems may not be compliant.

    "We are mainly concerned about flying over countries such as Yugoslavia and Bulgaria," said Pasipy's Christodoulou. "How do I know they have taken all the precautions? We are being asked to rely on other countries, but there are no guarantees," he said.

    Pasipy wants Cyprus Airways to come clean if it doesn't want to operate a flight for any reason, and not to leave it up to pilots to have to refuse to fly. "We don't want to have to take the blame," Christodoulou said.

    According to reports from other countries many flight attendants are jittery, particularly on flights to Latin America.

    [04] £4.5m award for boy after doctors negligence

    An 8-year-old English Cypriot boy who was left severely handicapped as a result of undiagnosed meningitis has been awarded £4.5 million in compensation by the British High Court, state radio CyBC reported yesterday.

    The court found that doctors at the Stafford General Hospital had failed to diagnose that the six-

    month-old Andrikos Milosha was suffering from bacterial meningitis in 1992.

    The boy's parents -- originally from Aradippou outside Larnaca and now living in Birmingham -- claim doctors at the hospital told them their infant son's vomiting and fever were "nothing to worry about".

    The doctors refused to test Andrikos for meningitis, even after his parents pleaded with them to do so, a close friend of the family told The Sunday Mail yesterday.

    Andrikos' meningitis was diagnosed by another hospital in the area, but the lateness of the diagnosis meant the boy was left severely physically and mentally handicapped.

    The compensation, awarded after Stafford hospital admitted negligence, is one of the highest amounts ever awarded by British courts in a case of medical negligence.

    [05] Precious little optimism from the man in the street

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE Sunday Mail yesterday scoured the bustling streets of Nicosia in search of some optimism about the proximity settlement talks that kicked off in New York on Friday.

    But there was precious little to be found.

    Not one of the twenty-or-so Saturday shoppers or shopkeepers we cornered for an opinion thought a settlement would emerge from the latest round of UN-sponsored talks.

    There were those who believed the process begun in New York might be the first step on a long road that might lead to a settlement sometime in the future, but most were completely negative.

    The response of one working mother-of-three was typical: "I don't think there is any chance of a settlement, because neither side will change their positions or what they want."

    "We've seen it all before and it has never got us anywhere," was a coffeeshop owner's response.

    The consensus was that the talks would stumble on the Turkish side's stubborn insistence on recognition of the breakaway TRNC.

    "No, there won't be any progress because the Turkish side won't shift. The talks will continue but it won't lead to anything," a thirtysomething salesman said.

    A pregnant mother-of-three insisted nothing would change until the US put pressure on Ankara. She added, however, that she could not see the US doing this.

    "The Turkish side is always the intransigent one. There has to be pressure put on Turkey by the US. But I don't think this will happen -- there are too many other interests involved, " she said.

    The mother added that she was convinced the talks would grind to a halt.

    Her London Cypriot husband was far more positive, suggesting the proximity talks might lead to something in the long-term.

    "I think this is most probably the best chance we've got of starting to get somewhere towards a solution," he said.

    "This time round the Americans -- who hold the key -- have put their own credibility on the line," he said, referring to US President Clinton's personal interest in the talks process.

    "The US will put pressure on Ankara. Clerides already knows he has to compromise on key issues like constitutional arrangements, property rights and territory," the father said. "Nothing will come out of New York, but it's the process itself that matters, and the US won't let it fall apart."

    Others were convinced the Turkish side would get its way and the TRNC would be recognised.

    "There will be a solution, sometime in the year 2000, but it will be a confederation -- permanent division," a civil servant in his late twenties said.

    "We will get Famagusta back and the Turks will get their state recognised," he added.

    He said the US and others would pour money into the government-controlled areas in a bid to quell opposition to such a division.

    "They will throw money at us, it will pour into the stock exchange and we will get compensation, just like they did after 1974 to keep us quiet," he said.

    [06] Shots fired in police drugs sting

    THE NICOSIA District court yesterday remanded an 18-year-old drug smuggling suspect arrested after a police sting operation in the Lythrodontas area.

    Police were yesterday still searching for Nicos Hadjisymeou's suspected accomplice, 29-year-old Dimitris Plastiras.

    The court heard that Hadjisymeou and Plastiras had offered to sell 200 grams of cannabis to two undercover policemen.

    The two officers, posing as drug users, had made an arrangement to meet the two suspects outside their home village of Lythrodontas, in the Nicosia district, at 7.30pm on Friday.

    The court heard that the two suspects turned up for the rendezvous in a car and offered the officers a bag of cannabis. The officers than revealed their identities, the court heard.

    Plastiras attacked one of the officers before running away while Hadjisymeou sped off in the car. The officers gave chase and fired warning shots in the air, but the suspects got away, the court heard.

    Hadjisymeou was arrested at his home in Lythrodontas later that same night.

    He was brought before court yesterday morning and remanded for eight days on suspicion of possessing and supplying illegal narcotics. Plastiras was still at large last night.

    [07] New endemic plant discovered

    A NEW endemic plant has been identified in the Paphos forest area. The yellow-flowered member of the Cruciferae family has been named Erysimum kykkoticum after the area in which it was discovered, near Kykko

    The new flower was found by senior Forestry Department officer Georgios Hadjikyriacou. The identification of E.kykkoticum brings to 140 the number of plants known to grow only in Cyprus.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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