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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-12-17

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, December 17, 1999


  • [01] Jailed Chinese student freed
  • [02] Defence levy stays, for now
  • [03] US crafts Unficyp resolution to suit both sides, but opposition expresses concern
  • [04] Profit taking brings market back to earth
  • [05] Civil servants to strike for more promotions
  • [06] Taxi driver killed driving wrong way down motorway
  • [07] Bomb goes off outside immigration officer's home

  • [01] Jailed Chinese student freed

    By Anthony O. Miller

    CHINESE student Li Yun, who has spent eleven days in a Cyprus prison cell, was released yesterday. But she could still be tried on charges of allegedly working illegally in a Cyprus pub where itís suspected she was the victim of a trap to lure her into prostitution.

    Li Yun, aged 20, was released from jail on the orders of Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou and Acting Immigration Officer Kyriacos Triantafyllides, following the request of her lawyer Yiannakis Erotocritou, who is also the Philippines Consul to Cyprus.

    "The (Migration) Police are still pressing charges against her, for reasons best known to themselves," Erotocritou said. Ultimately, he added, Attorney- general Alecos Markides would have to decide whether to prosecute her in court.

    Erotocritou said he hoped Markides would use his discretion in the young woman's favour, since she was deceived by her employer into believing that he had got her a permit to wait at tables in his pub.

    Li Yun told the Cyprus Mail yesterday about what happened at a November birthday in the pub for a fellow Chinese student, which led to her working there. Several people close to her believe she was the victim of a scheme to trap young women, for either cheap, disposable labour or blackmailing into prostitution.

    It is claimed that the pub owner staged the appearance of an 'immigration man' at his pub when Li Yun and four of her Chinese college classmates went to the party, accompanied by another older man who was also a friend of the pub owner.

    Li Yun naively followed the instructions of this 'immigration man', giving the pub owner her passport and student visa. Later, she said, she believed the pub owner when he said the 'immigration man' had helped get her a work permit and she started work, earning £12 a night.

    Fatefully, genuine Immigration Police arrested Li Yun on December 4 while she waited on tables -- she did not have the "promised" work permit.

    One source, who said he feared underworld reprisal if he were identified, said the pub owner, the older man who came to the pub with the Chinese students and the 'immigration man' were obviously working together to trap Li Yun and other young women into prostitution.

    He alleged that she would ultimately have been given a choice between working as a prostitute or being reported to the Immigration Police -- to be deported -- for waiting at tables in the pub without a genuine work permit.

    Erotocritou said he agreed with this analysis of Li Yun's plight, adding that pending the decision on her trial she would resume her studies in hotel management in Nicosia.

    Friday, December 17, 1999

    [02] Defence levy stays, for now

    THE Emergency Defence Levy, set for many at three per cent, will remain the same for the next three months during which time its structure will be re- evaluated, the House Plenum decided yesterday.

    After a heated discussion lasting more than two and a half hours led to the National Council becoming involved and suggestions that the levy be incorporated into Value Added Tax (VAT) or depend on income scales.

    Disy and Edek were in favour of the levy, raised by one per cent on August 1, 1998, initially to provide for the purchase of the S-300 missiles, being maintained until December 31, 2000, as proposed.

    They said that a reduction would have negative consequences on the morale of both the island's military forces and civilians. The two parties argued that any reduction would give the message that Cyprus had given up trying to protect itself.

    Akel and Diko believed that enough had been spent on defence and said a standard levy was unfair to lower income classes such as pensioners. They suggested that the percentage taken off the levy be scaled in accordance with the type of income and its size.

    The United Democrats, through Androulla Vassiliou, said they were in favour of the levy being incorporated into VAT, which would in any case have to rise because of EU harmonisation. She suggested rethinking the defence while it remained as now for three months, during which time it would be studied by the National Council. This was narrowly passed.

    Friday, December 17, 1999

    [03] US crafts Unficyp resolution to suit both sides, but opposition expresses concern

    By Jean Christou

    THE U.N. Security Council has renewed Unficyp's for a further six months in an unprecedentedly brief statement, which has caused consternation in some political quarters, but appears to have sidestepped the objections of both sides.

    Yesterday the UN also issued an addendum to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's November 29 report on the peacekeeping mission, referring to the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side.

    On Monday, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash threatened to restrict Unficyp's movement if he didn't like the wording of the mandate resolution, particularly the usual reference to the government of Cyprus. He also threatened not to return to UN-backed talks on the Cyprus issue if the wording was not right.

    In the end, the new resolution does refer to the government of Cyprus, but, in deference to Denktash, it omits other language usually found in such resolutions that the Turkish Cypriots object to. This includes wording that a settlement of the Cyprus problem must be based on a state "with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship," and must comprise a "bi-communal and bi-zonal federation."

    But to compensate for dropping language that the Greek Cypriots consider essential, the resolution reaffirms all the council's "relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular" the most recent Unficyp renewal last June, that included all the language omitted this time.

    Yesterday's addendum to Annan's report said the governments of Cyprus, Britain and Greece indicated their agreement with the proposed extension of the Force.

    It also takes note of the Turkish Cypriot threats.

    "The government of Turkey has indicated that it concurs with and supports the position of the Turkish Cypriot party, namely that Unficyp can operate on both sides of the island only on the basis of the consent of both parties and that the Turkish Cypriot authorities will accordingly request Unficyp to work with them to develop modalities of Unficyp's operations in northern Cyprus," the addendum said.

    The entire Unficyp renewal procedure has come under fire, not only from the Turkish side.

    The US, which drafted the final text, took particular pains to avoid any complications to the proximity talks that ended in New York on Tuesday.

    In what was seen as a move to appease Denktash, an earlier draft of the resolution omitted most of the elements to which he usually objects. President Clerides then sent a strong objection to the UN saying he would prefer the mandate not be renewed at all than to accept the draft, leading to the compromise resolution that appeared to satisfy all sides.

    But there was a mixed reaction from political parties on the island yesterday. Akel, the opposition communist party, said the resolution was a negative development. "They are trying to change things to suit Denktash," said party spokesman Nicos Katsourides. "There is no specific mention of the parameters for a solution". An announcement from centre-right Diko expressed almost identical views.

    Socialist Edek and government coalition partners United Democrats said they noticed there had been a change in the wording of the resolution, but said the essence of the Cyprus issue had not been compromised.

    However, President Clerides laid all doubts to rest when he returned to the island from New York yesterday.

    He said the resolution may not have spelled out the parameters of a Cyprus solution as usual, but "when you reaffirm something with a resolution its as if you write it in full," he said.

    Friday, December 17, 1999

    [04] Profit taking brings market back to earth

    By Hamza Hendawi

    A BOUT OF profit-taking left share prices lower yesterday, a day after they soared by nearly 10 per cent.

    The all-share index was down 11.58 points, or 1.6 per cent, to close at 770.64 on a decent volume of £39.36 million.

    Brokers had predicted profit taking in view of Wednesday's big jump in prices and yesterday they spoke of an expected steady run until the end of the year.

    Only two of the market's seven sectors -- investment and insurance companies -- ended the day in positive territory yesterday. The trading index was the biggest loser, its sub-index shedding 5.06 per cent. All three -- Woolworth, CTC and Orphanides -- in the sector finished lower, shedding £0.19, £0.24 and £0.36 respectively on a combined volume of nearly £4 million.

    The banks surrendered some of the big gains made on Wednesday, with their sub-index down by 2.35 per cent. The Bank of Cyprus, which rose by more than £1 on Wednesday, was down to £11.34. Popular Bank closed at £14.35, down by £0.65, while Hellenic Bank was only marginally off Wednesday's close at £5.18.

    Athienitis & Severis, which made its debut on Tuesday, closed £1.39 up at £23.4, an appreciation of more than 1,000 per cent in three days of trading.

    The share has a nominal value of £0.50, but sold to investors at £2 as part of its private placement and a tiny IPO of about 200,000 shares.

    Friday, December 17, 1999

    [05] Civil servants to strike for more promotions

    THE STATE machinery will grind to an almost complete halt between 10am and midday today as civil servants come out on strike.

    Civil servants' union Pasidy has called the strike to demand greater promotion opportunities for government employees.

    A skeleton staff will remain on duty at hospitals while the strike will not be observed at air traffic control towers.

    Pasidy said the strike action had been forced by the government's refusal to budge on the issue.

    "In view of the continuing negative approach of the official side, which renders promotion problems all the more acute, Pasidy has decided to dynamically seek their effective resolution," a union announcement stated.

    The absence of promotion opportunities within the civil service had a negative effect on employee moral, Pasidy claimed. "It is also a disincentive for more general efforts to increase the effectiveness and improve the quality of services offered to the public," the union added.

    This morning, striking civil servants are to gather at specified points in all main towns to voice their demands for more promotions.

    Friday, December 17, 1999

    [06] Taxi driver killed driving wrong way down motorway

    A 39-YEAR-OLD taxi driver was killed yesterday driving the wrong way down the new Limassol to Paphos motorway.

    Christakis Miltiadous Stavrou, alias Mamonias, from Limassol, was killed at 4.40am when his car collided head-on with a tanker truck. He did not have any passengers in his car.

    According to police, Miltiadous had entered the wrong side of the motorway at the Limassol hospital fly-over.

    He apparently drove around 800 metres in the wrong lane without realising his mistake, until the tanker truck slammed into his car head-on.

    The truck driver was slightly injured in the accident; he was breathalysed by police, but the result was negative.

    Friday, December 17, 1999

    [07] Bomb goes off outside immigration officer's home

    A BOMB EXPLODED yesterday in Larnaca outside the house of an Immigration Department police sergeant.

    The device went off at 12.20am outside the house of 55-year-old police sergeant Takis Petrou at Ayios Georgios Makris Street.

    Petrou is on pre-retirement leave from the Immigration Department.

    No one was injured during the blast.

    The bomb, which was placed on the veranda, destroyed the front door, and caused damage to the hallway.

    Petrou said he did not suspect anyone, and he had not received any threats concerning his service at the Immigration Department.

    The bomb squad sealed off the area and carried out investigations.

    Bomb Squad Chief Antonis Shiakallis said a homemade high intensity device had caused the explosion.

    Justice Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday expressed his concern about the motives behind the blast.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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