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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, August 8, 2002


  • [01] Our games hero: does anybody care?
  • [02] Bank talks break down again
  • [03] Denktash warns EU on enlargement
  • [04] Omirou launches his political platform
  • [05] Matsakis back in the firing range
  • [06] 13 million for St James' Square embassy
  • [07] Gutted night spot a 'safety hazard'
  • [08] Save the grass snake from extinction
  • [09] Plane hits pylon at Paphos airport

  • [01] Our games hero: does anybody care?

    By Soteris Charalambous

    DOUBLE medal winner Antonis Nicolaides returned to Cyprus late on Monday night without a single member of the public to greet him after representing his country with distinction at the Commonwealth Games, although his family more than made up for it by giving him a hero's welcome when he arrived home.

    Nicolaides returned triumphant from England after collecting a Gold medal in the Men's Skeet pairs with Christos Kourtellas and a bronze in the individual event. "I'm grateful to have been in a position to bring home two of Cyprus' four medals and very proud," he said.

    The 34-year old London-born shooting ace lives in Limassol with his wife and two young children, and only took up the sport in 1990, although he had always been keen on game shooting. He takes time out to practice three times a week and has an employer, the Cyprus Olympic Association (KOA), which is entirely sympathetic to his sporting ambitions.

    But despite his stunning success, Nicolaides' exploits have gone largely unnoticed back home. Asked if they planned to exploit the success of the country's medal winners by raising their profile to encourage more Cypriots to take up sport and perhaps lead to more champions, a spokesperson at KOA replied the person who would make that decision was away on holiday and wasn't due to return till later this month.

    KOA played down fears that the potential to capitalise on the success would be lost if too much time was allowed to pass, insisting the appropriate people would be contacted and their plans would be conveyed.

    Next year, competition will take Nicolaides to a number of international events with World and European championships taking place in India, Italy Australia and Spain but his eye is already focused on an event that takes place a little closer to home. "I'm hoping to pick up some more medals at these events in order to qualify for the Olympics in Athens in 2004."

    The shooting events at the games took place at Bisley in Surrey rather than Manchester but still drew huge crowds that generated an excellent atmosphere. Nicolaides feels his experience of the Commonwealth Games has merely whetted his appetite for more success. "Certainly it is a little early to speculate about my prospects for a medal in Athens, but the scores I achieved (at the Commonwealth Games) are good enough to get me into a medal position at the Olympics." He added, "I can only hope that I can reproduce my level of performance on the day."

    Nicolaides believes that the four medal haul Cyprus achieved at the games is highest at a single international event and that he is the only athlete to have achieved two medals at one games.

    Cyprus was ranked 18th overall at the games, one place behind Northern Ireland but ahead of countries like Pakistan and the African nations Zimbabwe and Uganda. Australia topped the rankings closely followed by England.

    Herodotos Giorgallas, who beat off stiff competition in the Men's Rings event, achieved Cyprus' other gold medal in Gymnastics while Charalambous Christodoulides brought home silver in Judo in the up to 73kg category.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Bank talks break down again

    By George Psyllides

    NEGOTIATIONS between the banks and their workers' union broke down yesterday, signalling more hardships for consumers with the two main banks set to close to the public tomorrow.

    According to reports, the negotiations were interrupted after around six hours when the employers' association (BEA) withdrew from talks after the bank employees' union (ETYK) refused to lift strike measures at the Popular Bank's computing centre.

    Staff at Laiki's computing centre are refusing to work in the afternoon, accusing the bank of bringing in private contractors in violation of the current collective agreement.

    Employers say that without full coverage at the centre, the reliability of transactions would be compromised and have therefore closed the bank.

    On Monday, Bank of Cyprus (BoC) had followed Laiki in closing down, arguing there would be a knock-on effect on its transactions.

    BoC, however, opened for the public yesterday - while Laiki remained closed - and had said it would also open tomorrow. But after the breakdown of yesterday's talks, the bank said it too would be closed on Friday.

    Earlier yesterday, the Governor of the Central Bank, Christodoulos Christodoulou, warned that a potential escalation of the dispute would seriously hurt the banking sector and the economy as a whole.

    Speaking after a meeting with Labour Minister Nicos Moushiouttas, whose personal intervention succeeded in bringing the two sides back to the negotiating table, Christodoulou said he was hopeful that yesterday's negotiations would lift the measures and improve the climate between the two sides.

    "What is happening today is the result of an alleged blatant violation of the agreements on the part of one bank," Christodoulou said.

    He added that the effects of the spat between ETYK and the BEA have so far been more of a psychological nature, though the greatest concern was the escalation of the measures.

    Moushiouttas revealed that his ministry's attempts to alleviate the situation in the banking sector were due to the backstage contacts Christodoulou had had with the two sides.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Denktash warns EU on enlargement

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday warned the European Union it would wreck peace efforts on the island if it admitted Cyprus, a front- running candidate for membership, without a settlement.

    Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides have been engaged in slow-moving UN- backed peace talks aimed at reuniting Cyprus before the EU gives the island an accession date at a December summit.

    "In the event the EU accepts the Greek Cypriot side in the name of Cyprus, there will be nothing left to discuss," Denktash was quoted as telling reporters by the Turkish Cypriot news agency TAK.

    "They will have resolved (the issue) at its roots. A Cyprus divided in two: one a member, the other one not," he said.

    The quagmire threatens to pitch Europe into crisis.

    Turkey has signalled it could annex the occupied areas if Cyprus enters the EU without a settlement and EU member Greece has said it would veto the bloc's enlargement if Cyprus is not included in the first wave.

    Brussels has said it will accept Cyprus, divided or not, as early as 2004.

    "If the EU unilaterally takes in the Greek Cypriots, it will have taken on trouble. But we will not be responsible for this," Denktash said.

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is to meet Denktash and Clerides in Paris in September in an apparent bid to bring the seemingly intractable sides closer. The Security Council and EU have repeatedly criticised Denktash for the slow pace of the talks.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Omirou launches his political platform

    By George Psyllides

    KISOS' aim is the formation of a government of the widest possible consent with a stable progressive direction, party chairman Yiannakis Omirou said yesterday.

    Speaking at a news conference called to outline his strategy in the run up to next year's presidential elections, Omirou said KISOS would not get into a process of haggling, stressing that dialogue and the desire to achieve consensus was addressed to all political forces in the country, with no exceptions.

    Omirou, however, grasped the chance to take a shot at his former political partners, AKEL and DIKO, who have agreed to contest the elections with DIKO Chairman Tassos Papadopoulos as candidate.

    "Do not expect lack of transparency, horse trading or secret deals; our proposal is a clear proposal for wider consent," Omirou said.

    He added that KISOS was abandoning the policies, which others had chosen to follow in the past.

    Omirou said his party's proposal was open and progressive, but there would not be any negotiation on that aspect, because "its progressive direction was non-negotiable".

    He explained that no other political or social force had intervened in the formation of KISOS' proposal.

    Omirou said his proposal was addressed to the whole of society, adding that KISOS and AKEL voters had more in common than dividing them.

    "Our proposal could find appeal with AKEL," Omirou said.

    The KISOS chairman said he would be calling regular news conferences in order to promote his party's efforts "for the rebirth of the country".

    "I hope it helps reporters get a clear picture of KISOS' policy. Unfortunately, we already have unfair arguments by political powers, which lead the voters to expect other things," Omirou said.

    He suggested the Cypriot people deserved a better political culture and argued that political arguments had been replaced by mere gossip and forged positions.

    Omirou said his party would fight for a better level of political culture, adding that, "as a candidate, I wish to discuss the level and ethos of the political campaign with my election opponents and towards this I would be presenting a comprehensive proposal at the beginning of September".

    He added that it was the time for planning effective strategies and that could not be done by remaining entrenched on stereotypes of the past.

    Concerning the internal administration, Omirou said the country was facing serious problems as well as scandals, with the 1999 stock market fiasco being at the top of the list.

    Omirou said citizens were asking for transparency and the formation of a progressive government of the widest possible consent that would put an end to the division of the country.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Matsakis back in the firing range

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    DIKO deputy Marios Matsaksis spent another hard day in the trenches yesterday, disrupting British troops carrying out exercises at a Larnaca firing range, while protesting at the lack of safety measures that existed for shepherds and locals in the area.

    Matsakis had previously disrupted the exercise at the Kalo Chorio firing range on Monday and Tuesday in protest at the planned erection of the huge British aerial at Akrotiri salt lake.

    According to Matsakis, he returned to the firing range yesterday still protesting against the huge aerial, but also in response to accusations that he used devious methods to enter the range.

    "I used one of the main entrances to drive to the centre of the firing range in the middle of the day with a convoy of cars filled with reporters. The SBA firing range warden didn't even realise these access roads existed and promised to place guards there," said Matsakis, highlighting the dangers posed to local villagers.

    The British troops stopped the exercise until a British superior officer arrived along with a high-ranking Larnaca police officer who asked Matsakis to leave the range immediately.

    The British troops were using live ammunition in a light weapons exercise at Kalo Chorio as opposed to the former range at Akamas after an agreement between the two governments called for an end to all firing exercises in the Akamas region.

    Matsakis maintained that the decision was taken at a very high level and could not be reversed.

    The outspoken deputy asked the Deputy Attorney-general Petros Clerides yesterday to open an investigation into charges he made on Tuesday of British troops trying to kill him. He asked Clerides to investigate as to why Cypriot police who are responsible for safety at the range failed to stop the shooting even after they knew he was under fire.

    Asked why he put his life in danger in the first place, Matsakis replied, "If in a few years time the number of cancer cases increases in the Limassol area, I want to know that I tried my best for those victims, while others were sitting at home watching Brazilian soaps."

    British bases spokesman Rob Need said that Matsakis was entitled to his own view, maintaining that the need for dialogue existed in a democracy otherwise people would get into entrenched positions.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] 13 million for St James' Square embassy

    CYPRUS would be soon acquiring its own building in London to house the Republic's embassy, it was reported yesterday.

    According to Politis, negotiations for acquiring the building in London's St. James' Square were at an advanced stage, and the House could be voting on the necessary budget as early as autumn.

    The building, which was inspected in July by a special committee, would cost taxpayers around 13 million, Politis said.

    The newly renovated building had been selected due to its central location in the capital and its relatively good price.

    The committee, which is made up of the permanent secretaries of the foreign and finance ministries, the planning bureau director, the director of the public works department, and a representative from the Auditor-general's office had already submitted its proposal to the Cabinet, reports said.

    Cyprus is also finalising plans a new embassy in Athens. Negotiations for the purchase of a plot are near completion and Parliament has already approved the 5.8 million needed.

    The total cost of the project, which will house the island's diplomats, press office, and trade centre, is estimated at around 11 million.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Gutted night spot a 'safety hazard'

    By Alex Mita

    SEVEN months after the Bali nightclub in Nicosia burned down in a fire, the gutted building on the walls of the old city has become a safety hazard, with nothing done to clear out the charred remains and secure the structure.

    The building is open to the elements, and to whoever wants to walk in, making it an ideal place for squatters, a hazard for children and a breeding ground for vermin.

    Club owner Savvas Mouzakis claimed the reason that the building had not been sealed was because the insurance company was deliberately causing delays, but the claims department director at Laiki Insurance, Argyris Argyrou, said this was not the case.

    "I am not at liberty to comment on the issue at this time," Argyrou said.

    "But I can assure you that it is not our fault that the premises have not been sealed."

    Residents living around the area told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the place had become a health hazard, as it was now a haven for vermin and cockroaches.

    "They keep sprouting out from everywhere," one man said.

    "It's about time somebody did something to have the placed cleaned up."

    But Mouzakis claimed the cost of cleaning up the wreckage was estimated to be in the region of 4,000.

    "It's not enough that my place burned down, now we have to pay all that money to have it cleaned? Why did I have it insured in the first place?" Mouzakis wondered.

    "Our company repaired our offices that were also affected by the fire at our own cost, but so far we have been thwarted by the insurance company."

    The head of the Health and Safety department of the Municipality was unavailable to comment on the issue.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Save the grass snake from extinction

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE CYPRUS grass snake could become extinct if protective measures are not implemented soon, Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous warned yesterday.

    Speaking at one of the snake's habitats, Paralimni Lake, the minister heard officials from the Fisheries and Games departments explain measures taken by the relevant authorities for the protection and safety of the endemic grass snake (Natrix natrix cypriaca).

    Themistocleous said the importance of the Cyprus grass snake had already been recognised by the European Union after a proposal by the Cyprus government led to its inclusion in an EU Habitat Directive. He added that the relevant ministerial authorities had proposed new measures to protect and ensure the survival of the endemic grass snake in its main habitats of Xyliatos dam in the Northern Troodos mountains, Kato Moni area and Paralimni Lake.

    The grass snake lives in and around reservoirs, stream pools and other wetlands. It usually grows up to 120 cm, occasionally reaching 200cm. The body is usually olive-grey, greenish, olive-brown or even steel-grey with various dark blotches and sometimes light stripes.

    The endangered snake is harmless and rarely bites. When disturbed, however, it may hiss and strike with its mouth closed or release a nasty smell from its anal gland. If handled, it may even play dead, lying on its back with its mouth open and tongue hanging out. Its food consists predominantly of frogs, but fish are also occasionally eaten and even small mammals.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Plane hits pylon at Paphos airport

    A COMMERCIAL airliner holding 357 passengers hit a light pylon at Paphos international airport last night while taxiing towards its parking point, calling the airport emergency services to full alert.

    According to Civil Aviation inspector Harris Nearchos, no passenger injuries were reported but minor damage was recorded to the right wing of the plane.

    The Airbus 330, chartered by British tour operators 'My Travel', landed at Paphos airport from Gatwick as scheduled at 7.40pm yesterday, but caught its right wing on a pylon while taxiing from the runway to the aeroplane parking location.

    The Civil Aviation authority has appointed an official investigator to determine why the plane hit the light pole. All the passengers left the plane safely, travelling to their planned destinations to continue their holiday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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