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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, August 13, 2002


  • [01] The church without a priest
  • [02] Cyprus to auction extra mobile phone licence
  • [03] Zampelas wants city police force for Nicosia
  • [04] Farmers angry at suspension of social security debt
  • [05] Still a chance to catch those meteors

  • [01] The church without a priest

    By Alex Mita

    RESIDENTS of Platanissia village in the Paphos district have been going to church every Sunday for the last 22 years, only to listen to the liturgy on their pocket radios since there is no priest allocated to their village.

    The village Mukhtar, Fotis Panayi, said in a radio interview yesterday that the 50 residents of the village were at their wits' end.

    "I don't think that it's so difficult for the Church to spare one priest so we can have a proper liturgy as well. We are old but that doesn't mean we are not Christians," Panayi said.

    "We take the radio, go to church and listen to the service being broadcast. We know when to do our cross and when to kneel, so we do all that until the service is over. After mass, we take our radios and go home. But what about Holy Communion? You can't get that from the radio."

    Panayi said the Church should have at least provided the village with a part-time priest, or someone that could serve the liturgy every 15 days, so that the faithful could receive communion.

    DIKO Deputies Zacharias Koulias and Sofoclis Fitis visited the village on Sunday and were touched by the persistence of the few residents to continue going to church in spite of the absence of a priest.

    "Something deeply touching is happening at St. George's church, that should be revealed to the Church and to the people," Koulias said.

    "We have a retired man, who with his petty savings from his pension, is trying to keep the church in working order. Then we see the elderly go to a church without a priest and singers and follow the service with a radio. We believe the Church should see this and take action."

    But Platanissia is not the only place facing problems of this kind.

    According to the deputies, in another village, that of Avdimou, the liturgy is held in a Turkish Cypriot school.

    "The residents have been asking for a church at their village and even found the land for it, but no one wants to pay the 44,000 required for the appropriation of the land," the deputies said.

    The cost of building the church would amount to 300,000, but Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos says he will only give 150,000 if the government pays the rest of the money.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Cyprus to auction extra mobile phone licence

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS is to offer one 20-year licence for a new second-generation mobile phone operator when the telecommunications sector is liberalised next year, Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou said yesterday.

    Speaking at a news conference to announce the government's criteria for the competition to end CyTA's monopoly, Neophytou also said that CyTA and the winner, who will be chosen at the end of November, would also be given a third generation license (3G) without additional licence fees, if they introduced it within 10 years.

    First generation networks provided simple analogue voice telephony. Second generation add data services like fax and email to basic voice services, short message service (SMS) and WAP. Third generation mobile communications, in addition to conventional voice, data and fax services, promises to offer multimedia services, mobile office, virtual banking and Internet access.

    Neophytou said the reason only one extra licence would be given was because of the small size of the market. Some 65 per cent of the island's population of 700,000 has a mobile phone. "If we had decided to give more than once licence, adequate competition may not have been safeguarded," Neophytou said. "The possibility of granting a third licence will be re- examined after five years or at the time when the new entrant gains 25 per cent of the market share."

    He said the prospect of Cyprus' accession to the European Union brought new challenges and tough choices along with fierce competition, and the purpose of the Ministry's policy was to create a healthy competitive environment in telecommunications for the benefit of the Cypriot consumer and the Cyprus economy.

    The applicants that will participate in the bidding process will be selected according to specific criteria. Any connections with any mobile phone providers in the Turkish-controlled north of the island would mean instant exclusion from the competition, the Minister said.

    The new GSM licence will be issued through an "ascending multiple round auction" with the participation of bidders that passed a pre-selection screening by authorities. "I believe we will be in a position to move towards the process of auction by November," Neophytou said adding that CyTA would be required to pay a licence fee equivalent to what the competition winner would pay through the auction process.

    According to Telecommunications Commissioner Vassos Pyrgos, the selection criteria include the availability of adequate financial resources for the establishment and operation of the mobile network and the provision of guarantees and financial securities for participating in the auction.

    He said the new operator must have demonstrated experience in mobile telecommunications, have at least five years of experience in the management and control of a mobile telecommunications network exceeding 100, 000 subscribers.

    National roaming with CyTA's network would also be mandatory for five years, antenna costing would be encouraged and in rural areas facilities would be shared, Pyrgos said.

    The successful bidder will be expected to make a 20 per cent down payment with the remaining 80 per cent spread equally over a four-year period.

    Expressions of interest in the government's public consultation paper, issued in April, were received from Vodafone, Telestet and Greece's CosmOTE, which are interested in GSM licences. The list also includes other companies from the US, France, Germany, the UK, Scandinavia and Russia.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Zampelas wants city police force for Nicosia

    By Jean Christou

    NICOSIA Mayor Michalakis Zampelas yesterday proposed the creation of a municipal police force for the capital.

    Speaking to reporters, Zampelas said that he had already sent five officials to Athens for three days to study the system in place in the Greek capital, and would, after investigating it fully, put forward his proposals to the government and parliament.

    "For the city to be able to stand on its own two feet and fight crime, it should have its own police," Zampelas said.

    "I got in touch with Athens Mayor Demetris Avraampoulos and sent five people to Athens for three days to study the way the municipal police work in Greece so we can try to figure out a way to start a municipal police force to protect the city, especially at night. We are studying the ways and planning properly. And when we are ready we will take our ideas to the state."

    Zampelas said that although Nicosia already had its own traffic wardens, they did not have the same power as police officers.

    "They don't have the power to go into a building or to make arrests," he said. "Upgrading them from traffic wardens to municipal police would solve the problem."

    In addition to the plans for a police force, Zampelas has also earmarked 850,000 for the upgrading of the pedestrian areas of Ledra and Onasagorou streets in old Nicosia.

    He admitted the old town had a problem, but said this wasn't to do with pedestrianisation, but because most residents of old Nicosia had now abandoned the area and were living outside the walks.

    "Old Nicosia has emptied and we have to breathe life back into it," he said.

    "We have taken a decision that until middle of December this year to spend 850,000 to upgrade the pedestrian areas."

    He said cars should be able to cross from Ledra to Onasagorou and that shop fronts and entrances should also be upgraded.

    "They have to change the look of the way shops look in Nicosia," Zampelas said. "Otherwise how are they going to make people go back into the old town and to make it more popular?"

    He said he believed the construction of the new Town Hall near the old municipal market would be a first step towards rejuvenating the old town. The Municipality wanted the new town hall to be completed in two years, but work was stopped in June when diggers uncovered what they believed to be a Lusignan palace. Zampelas said he believed that the palace could coexist with the new town hall.

    "We stopped work until December 31 to give a chance to archaeologists to evaluate their findings," he said. "Work will resume after that date."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Farmers angry at suspension of social security debt

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    FAMAGUSTA District Court yesterday suspended arrears in social insurance contributions in a case brought against 45 farmers, provoking angry reactions from farmers who had wanted the debt wiped out.

    The ruling came after Attorney-general Alecos Markides ordered social insurance payments owed from 1997 for seasonal foreign workers to be suspended. Yesterday's sentence, however, warned the suspended payments would be added on to any new charges if farmers fell into arrears again.

    But farmers were angry with the decision, as they had held out for government assistance in the form of a cancellation of the debt owed for seasonal workers' social insurance.

    The Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, AKEL deputy Christos Mavrocordatos, told state radio yesterday, "We are not satisfied with the outcome. Promises to cancel the debt completely were no met by the court ordering a suspension of payments. This proves the government made empty promises instead of concrete decisions."

    DISY deputy Antonis Karas, legal representative for the farmers, explained, "A suspended sentence implies they are exempt from any monetary payments, but if they commit a similar offence in the future, the Attorney-general has the right to add this charge on to the new one."

    Disgruntled farmers outside the court warned that this was not the end of the problem and said they would be back before the courts in no time.

    One farmer said, "They will simply bring us back to court because the issue of social insurance for seasonal foreign workers has not been solved yet. They want us to pay too much every month."

    The farmers are believed to be planning to put up their own presidential candidate in an effort to undermine the chances of the current government being re-elected.

    Farmers staged two mass demonstrations at the end of March and July, causing traffic chaos on key routes on the island, in protest at the government's insistence that they pay social insurance for seasonal workers.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Still a chance to catch those meteors

    THOSE who missed the peak of this year's annual Perseid shower may still be able to catch the tail end of the show tonight, the director of the Fakas Institute said yesterday.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Ioannis Fakas said that although he would not be offering any facilities since his astronomy institute was closed for the holidays, people could still view the shower if they looked towards the north east.

    The shower peaked last night between 11pm and 4am, he said. "This is the best time to view it but people may also be still able to see something on Tuesday night," Fakas said. Experts expected this year's shower to be remarkably good because the Perseids have been strong in recent years, which is a promising sign for 2002. Also, the moon sets early in mid-August so lunar interference will not be a problem. Sky watchers can expect to see dozens to hundreds of meteors per hour.

    Perseid meteors come from comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 130 years, the comet swoops in from deep space (beyond Pluto) and plunges through the plane of the solar system not far from Earth's orbit. Astronomers once worried that Swift-Tuttle might hit our planet, but recent data and calculations show otherwise. There is no danger of a collision for at least a millennium and probably much longer.

    Swift-Tuttle's orbit is littered with bits of dusty debris, which bubble away from the comet's icy nucleus (propelled by evaporating ice); when Swift-Tuttle nears the Sun, these grains form a cloud that Earth ploughs through once a year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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