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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-17

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, August 17, 2002


  • [01] UN complains to Turks over new Pyla wall
  • [02] British Greens join Akrotiri campaign
  • [03] Helicopter crash probe to be published next week
  • [04] Living longer and marrying more
  • [05] Warning to hunters from UNFICYP

  • [01] UN complains to Turks over new Pyla wall

    By Jean Christou

    UNFICYP said yesterday that a wall being built by Turkish troops in the mixed village of Pyla was a violation of the status quo, adding it had raised the issue with the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Reports surfaced earlier this week about the construction of a wall in front of a Turkish observation post in the UN-controlled buffer-zone village in the Larnaca district, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots have remained side by side since 1974.

    The government protested against the construction on Wednesday and made representations to the UN. Neither side is allowed to change the status quo in or around the island's 180-km buffer zone.

    "The UN considers it as a permanent violation and strongly protested this activity at a high level," an UNFICYP spokesman told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. "We are monitoring the situation and we are in touch with both sides," he added.

    Andreas Pentaras, Colonel with the Defence Ministry, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) earlier in the week that "the Turks have constructed a 15- metre long and 1.5 metre high wall in front of one of their observation posts, on a hill overlooking the village."

    He said the National Guard and the Defence Ministry had made representations to UNFICYP because the wall was a violation of the status quo in the area.

    Pentaras said that there had not been any reports about additional movements or reinforcements of the Turkish occupation forces in the area.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] British Greens join Akrotiri campaign

    By Alex Mita

    The UK Green Party has slammed the British government's plans to install a powerful new antenna at the Akrotiri Salt Lake, on Cyprus' southern coast.

    The UK Greens' stance is included in a joint statement signed by Green peer Lord Beaumont, Green member of the Scottish Parliament Robin Harper, the UK Greens' MEPs and the leader of the Greens on the London Assembly.

    Green party MEP Jean Lambert said in the statement that "the mast would ravage an area designated as a Ramsar site and listed as a wetland of international importance", adding that "Britain really shouldn't be messing up another country's environment".

    "The Greens believe the British government is seeking to rush the plan through before Cyprus joins the EU, after which the area, which is home to fairy shrimps and pink flamingos, would demand special protection under EU law," the statement says.

    The area in which the new antenna will be installed has been placed under the Ramsar convention for the preservation of wetlands, and the greens believe the electromagnetic radiation emitted from the giant masts would cause irreversible damage to the environment by destroying nesting and migration sites in the area.

    The local Green party, under Deputy George Perdikis has spearheaded the campaign against the antenna, staging vigorous demonstrations in an effort to preserve the natural habitat.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, UK Greens spokesman Peter Polycarpou expressed his party's solidarity with the Cypriot campaign, assuring they would do everything in their power to make people in the UK aware of the damage the new antenna would cause to the environment.

    Polycarpou slammed a decision by the SBA to relocate wildlife and plant life to a different location, which the bases claim would not be affected by the radiation.

    "This is typical of the completely ridiculous understanding of environmental issues by most politicians and this is why the Green Party are trying to put a reasoned argument," Polycarpou said.

    "You cannot just change an animal's environment, because they have adapted to that environment over hundreds of years. You don't just move a population of animals in the same way you would move a population of people - it just doesn't work like that. It doesn't work for people and it doesn't work for animals."

    Polycarpou said the British government had chosen to begin works at this time of the year when people would be on holiday and therefore have fewer problems with the locals.

    "It's unacceptable that they are not consulting the local people properly and not taking into account the wishes of the local people," he said.

    "This whole thing is being conducted outside the realm of what would be done over here in terms of consultation. They would not get away with it here so why do they think they would get away with it there."

    Polycarpou said that with the new antenna, the level of electromagnetic radiation would increase threefold, and brushed aside a recent report by a team of experts on the area, which effectively gave the go ahead for the installation.

    "The study produced insufficient results and they do not know what effect this would have on the environment," Polycarpou said.

    "All we do know is that there will be no path for the birds to migrate to. It will affect the eating habits of the flamingos and in particular the environment in which they migrate, so it's going to damage them, it's going to damage the shrimp population and it's just outrageous that they can do this on a site which is currently protected by the Ramsar Convention since November."

    "Because it is their land they think they can do whatever they want," he said.

    Polycarpou said the Greens were already deciding on what form of action they would take to oppose the installation of the antenna, but stressed his party was opposed to violent demonstrations. He noted that a letter had been sent to Tony Blair, but he was not hopeful of getting an answer on the issue any time soon.

    "They just don't care as far as I am concerned. In the summer, politics shut down in the UK and all they are interested in is funny news. This to them is not of interest because it is a serious political issue and they won't get involved with it until they get back from holiday.

    Polycarpou said any protests at this time would be fruitless: "It's pointless to go down there and chain yourself at 10 Downing Street, because there's nobody there.

    "It's a question of finding the right way forward, because we don't believe in violent protests.

    "I believe that reasoned, forceful arguments would make people aware, because it is unacceptable in the way it's damaging the environment, and in terms of legality people there can do nothing."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Helicopter crash probe to be published next week

    THE REASONS for the Bell helicopter crash that killed the head of the national guard last month should become known early next week, Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos said yesterday.

    The Bell 206 Long Ranger carrying National Guard Chief Evangelos Florakis and four other officers went down in the early morning hours of July 10, killing everyone on board. Ever since, speculation over the causes of the accident (foul play has been ruled out) has been fuelled by a controversy over whether the chopper was suitable for night flights. Hasikos has maintained throughout that the Bell choppers were properly equipped with night vision goggles (NVGs).

    Some members of the House Defence Ministry even suggested that the Defence Ministry was attempting a cover-up trying to conceal the fact that the Bell choppers were unsuitable for night sorties.

    Asked to comment on the findings of the Defence Ministry investigation, Hasikos said yesterday that it would be "improper to make guesses or predictions."

    "But I assure you that as soon as we have it we shall publicise it. As I promised, there shall be full transparency regarding the causes of the crash, to the extent that the people of Cyprus should know about it," Hasikos noted.

    The Defence Minister said the findings would contain technical information not understood by laypersons, but added that the "essence of the findings will no doubt be made public."

    Possible causes for the crash include mechanical failure or a fire breaking out on board while the chopper was in flight. The crash was described as the worst military disaster for Cyprus since 1974.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Living longer and marrying more

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRIOT men and women live longer than those in many EU countries and infant mortality on the island is also much lower than in several European countries.

    According to the results of the Eurostat demographic report for 2001, Cypriot women - with a life expectancy of 80.4 years - live longer than their counterparts in Denmark, Portugal, the UK and Ireland, which has the lowest life expectancy among women at 78.5 years. Women in France live the longest at 83 years.

    Cypriot men (life expectancy 75.3) can expect to live longer than their counterparts in Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Portugal, Germany and Finland. Ireland again has the lowest life expectancy for men at 73 years while men live longer in Sweden, with an expectancy of 77.5 years.

    Infant mortality in Cyprus is also relatively low, with 4.9 deaths per 1, 000 births compared to 5.0 in Belgium, 5.9 in Greece, 5.8 in Ireland, 5.9 in Luxembourg, 5.3 in the Netherlands, 5.0 in Portugal and 5.5 in the UK. Finland and Sweden have the lowest infant mortality rate at 3.2 per thousand births.

    The Eurostat report also said Cyprus had the highest number of marriages in the EU, with 14.4 marriages per thousand of population or 11,000 weddings last year. However, it is not clear if the statistics take account the hundreds of couples who get married in Cyprus during their holidays. The lowest number of weddings in the EU is four per thousand in Sweden. The highest in EU countries was 6.6 per thousand in Denmark.

    Cyprus registered 1,400 divorces in 2001, some 1.8 divorces per thousand of population, which was lower than all EU countries except Greece at 0.9 per cent. Most EU countries registered divorces running at over two per thousand of population.

    Like their EU counterparts, Cypriot women are also having fewer children. According to the statistics, in 2001the average Cypriot women had 1.79 children, down from 1.84 in 2000 and 2.5 in 1980.

    In the EU, the average is 1.47 children, although French women and Irish women tend to have 1.9 children. Italian and Spanish women have the least children with 1.25 and 1.24 respectively. Children born out of wedlock in Cyprus accounted for 2.3 per cent of all births compared to only 0.6 per cent in 1980. In the EU, births outside marriage were highest in Sweden where 55 per cent of all babies are born outside of wedlock.

    In France the figure is 42.6 while in Denmark it reaches 44.6 per cent and in the UK 39.5 per cent.

    Statistics on Europe's hottest topic, migration, showed that the population of the EU increased by 0.4 per cent in 2001 and that around 75 per cent of the population increase was due to migration and only 25 per cent to a natural increase.

    Out of a population increase of 6.4 people per thousand in Cyprus, half was due to a natural increase and the remaining half was due to migration. In all EU countries, migration accounted for two and three times the number of natural births except in Finland where the natural increase surpassed the number of migrants.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Warning to hunters from UNFICYP

    UNFICYP yesterday issued a warning to hunters that the buffer zone was out of bounds to them when the hunting season begins tomorrow.

    In an announcement, the peacekeeping force reminded the hunters of the need to act cautiously and responsibly, both for their own safety and the safety of others they might come into contact with. "In the past, hunters have proved to be a hazard to each other and to UNFICYP personnel," the announcement said.

    "Hunters wearing camouflage outfits and carrying guns are easily mistaken for soldiers and therefore can be at risk of being fired upon by either of the opposing forces, should they inadvertently enter the buffer zone."

    The announcement said that firing of guns in the narrow areas between the ceasefire line inevitably increases tension because soldiers on duty cannot immediately determine where the shots have come from and may feel obliged to react.

    It also reminds hunters that careless behaviour, and smoking in particular may cause forest fires at this time of the year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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