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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, August 21, 2002


  • [01] Savvides pledges emergency health unit in wake of pool accidents
  • [02] Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists
  • [03] Beating probe 'damning for police'
  • [04] Recruits found safe after night out in the open
  • [05] Time to change system of teaching appointments
  • [06] We've been spared the floods, but the weather is strange
  • [07] Police investigating possible forgery in sewage board affair

  • [01] Savvides pledges emergency health unit in wake of pool accidents

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides yesterday announced plans for the setting up of a centralised operation unit to provide rapid medical treatment in emergency situations. The minister made the announcement in the wake of a recent spate of swimming pool accidents involving young children, both in public and private-owned pools.

    He said the unit, based in Nicosia, would be fully operational in nine months' time, covering emergency cases throughout Cyprus and manned by a fully trained medical staff. Savvides also declared his intention to propose the purchase of a helicopter ambulance to the Cabinet.

    Speaking after a meeting with pathologist Marios Matsakis regarding the death of Sophie Irakleous, who drowned last Sunday week after falling into a family pool outside Paphos, the minister said he would meet with state pathologists before deciding whether to launch an administrative investigation into her death.

    The three-year-old girl was playing with her kitten in the yard when she fell into the pool at around 4pm. She was rushed to hospital where doctors managed to resuscitate her, but still unconscious, was later transferred to Limassol, then to Nicosia, where she died shortly after arriving at around 8pm.

    The second such incident in recent days involved a three-year-old boy who fell into the swimming pool of his Paphos home on Monday. Benjamin Stewart, of Scottish and Cypriot parents, apparently fell into the pool while playing with his bike. He was found unconscious and rushed to Paphos hospital from where he was transferred to Nicosia after receiving initial treatment. He remained in critical condition yesterday at Makarios hospital in Nicosia, awaiting neurological tests to check for any permanent damage to the brain.

    Regarding charges by the parents of Sophie Irakleous that the ambulance did not arrive on time and criticism of doctors for not flying Sophie to Nicosia with a helicopter, Savvides said he would launch an official investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death if the parents made a written complaint.

    "If the circumstances are as they have been reported to me, then there is no matter to investigate," he said. He pleaded to all parents to be extra attentive when their children were near swimming pools or the sea, to avoid the tragic accident of drowning in the summer months.

    The maintenance manager at Aqua Masters yesterday described the various ways in which people with home pools could apply safety measures. Apart from having safety stickers around the pool, people can also place a safety cover on the pool or an aluminium fence around it, said Andros Trichas. The safety cover is made out of plastic and can be used either manually or automatically. It ranges in price from 3,000 to 5,000. The fence with plastic netting and a child-proof entrance is 25 per metre, 1.20 metres in height and can easily be removable.

    Trichas highlighted the fact that only two to three per cent of pool buyers opted for the safety measures, most instead buying a flimsy cover for the pool, which would prove extremely dangerous if fallen into.

    Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    By George Psyllides

    TURKISH CYPRIOT newspaper Afrika, formerly Avrupa, yesterday urged President Glafcos Clerides to break his silence over an article, which landed two journalists in jail after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash sued them for libel.

    Afrika editor Sener Levent and reporter Memduh Ener were each jailed for six months earlier this month over an article criticising Denktash and the breakaway regime.

    Afrika was accused of libelling Denktash, the occupation army and Turkey, in a July 29, 1999 article headlined "Who is the number one traitor?"

    In the article, the daily reported that Clerides had responded to Denktash's request to evacuate his family from the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Nicosia during the intercommunal strife of 1963.

    Afrika said the incident had been recorded by Clerides in his memoirs, extracts of which were reproduced by the newspaper.

    But Denktash sued Afrika for the comments, admitting his family had indeed been evacuated, but not by Clerides but by the United Nations.

    The family was transported safely to Nicosia airport and then flown out to Turkey.

    Afrika said yesterday that Levent had met Clerides, whom he asked to testify before a 'court' in the north, a request that was rejected by Clerides as it would have meant recognition of the breakaway regime.

    Levent, however, recorded his conversation with Clerides, though the 'court' did not admit the tape as evidence, Afrika said.

    The Journalists' Union yesterday met the UN Acting Special Representative in Cyprus and Chief of Mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz and informed him of the situation concerning the two Turkish Cypriot journalists.

    According to a written statement issued by the union, Wlosowicz listened to the delegation and assured them he was informing the UN secretariat on the matter.

    Wlosowicz said he would pass the union's resolution on to New York, the statement said.

    The resolution urged the UN to act immediately for the release of the two men and put an end to the oppressive measures against the newspaper as well as ensure respect for freedom of the press.

    The union said Wlosowicz assured them the UN would carefully examine all possibilities of what it could be done for the jailed journalists.

    Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Beating probe 'damning for police'

    DEPUTY Attorney-general Petros Clerides yesterday refused to comment on reports that the findings of an investigation into the alleged beating of a man by drug squad officers were damning for the police.

    The incident took place in July, at a petrol station in the village of Nisou just outside Nicosia.

    Lefteris Georgiou, 29, went to the petrol station to fill up his car when, according to reports, he was grabbed and beaten by officers staking out the place in anticipation of a drug sale.

    Police have confirmed that an incident took place, but claimed Georgiou tried to flee the scene, ignoring their calls to stop.

    They said Georgiou drove into the petrol station, but when he saw the officers, reversed in a bid to flee the area. The officers believed the 29- year-old was a suspect and tried to stop him.

    In the ensuing scuffle, Georgiou was allegedly beaten by officers, who then drove him to the police station with a gun to his head.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides immediately ordered an investigation into the incident, whose findings are understood to be damning for the officers involved.

    But yesterday Clerides refused to comment on the findings, adding that in any case they were not binding for the Attorney-general.

    "I don't deny or confirm (that the findings are damning for the police)," Clerides said.

    "The investigator's findings do not bind me; I'll make my conclusions from the testimonies," he added.

    Clerides said he met Georgiou on Monday and asked him a number of things regarding the case. However, the deputy Attorney-general said he had censured the alleged victim for going public, arguing that as a witness he should not have disclosed the details of the case.

    Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Recruits found safe after night out in the open

    By Soteris Charalambous

    Two 18-year-old National Guardsmen who failed to return to their unit were found yesterday morning shortly before 7am after losing their bearings and ending up in the village of Alambra.

    Defence Ministry Spokesman Andreas Yiorkas explained the guardsmen had been given leave to visit their families in Paphos and had left their homes previous evening, but had chosen to hitchhike.

    "The pair were dropped off by a driver, and at some stage lost their way, resulting in their failure to report back to their unit," said Yiorkas, "Fortunately, they were carrying a mobile phone with them, informed the base, and the National Guard, with the help of the police, carried out a search for them."

    According to Yiorkas, the Minister of Defence, Socrates Hasikos, had asked to be kept abreast of all developments throughout the night.

    "We were able to maintain contact with the pair up to a point, then at first light they were able to describe where they were so that we could retrieve them," said Yiorkas.

    Asked of their condition, the spokesman said, "They are very well, and are resting.

    "The first priority is for them to rest, afterwards they can account for how they came to be lost."

    Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Time to change system of teaching appointments

    THE CHAIRMAN of the House Education Committee yesterday stressed the need to change the law regarding the appointment of teachers in state schools.

    Prodromos Prodromou said the existing system was not currently based on merit but on seniority.

    He explained that if there were two candidates, academic performance counted for nothing, as it was seniority that took precedence.

    Prodromou said the problem had only emerged this year as there would have to be some kind of selection due to the high demand and the small number of available promotions.

    He added that selection should not be based on seniority, which was a crude system that needed to be corrected immediately.

    "It is a chance for everyone to realise that, fortunately or unfortunately, this system with seniority lists cannot survive in the next few years due to EU accession and the new realities," Prodromou said.

    He said that the House Education Committee should look into the issue and find a new system as soon as the summer holidays were over.

    The head of the primary education teachers union (POED), Sofoclis Charalambides, said his union had no problem discussing amendments to the law, and tried to dispel public misconceptions regarding the appointment criteria.

    He said that the prevalent view was that when drafting the lists, only date of birth was taken in consideration.

    Charalambides said there was a procedure, which included the graduation date, date when the diploma was submitted, and academic scores, that was clearly defined by the law.

    He said that if after considering all factors two teachers ended up with the same merits, then the law stipulated the selection should be made in accordance with date of birth.

    The birth date had been chosen over two other methods - random draw and alphabetical order - Charalambides said.

    He insisted the list was not drafted based on seniority, but that that was only the final stage in case two teachers were of equal ability.

    He added the same method was also used in appointing secondary teaching personnel.

    Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] We've been spared the floods, but the weather is strange

    By Sofia Kannas

    WHILE many parts of Europe and Asia have been ravaged by storms and devastating floods, Cyprus appears to have escaped the extreme weather which has affected other countries this summer.

    However, while flooding and rainstorms like those that have swept through Central Europe may have by-passed Cyprus, the island has not been without its own abnormal 'weather events' for the time of year.

    So far this summer, the island has seen unusual bouts of torrential rain, with the Met Office recording the average area precipitation for July as 288 per cent of normal levels for the month.

    Temperatures meanwhile have vacillated between extremes of over 40 degrees Celsius and un-seasonal lows of 33 degrees Celsius in inland areas. Nicosia's inhabitants also noted an increase in humidity (normally experienced only in coastal regions) in the capital this July.

    But according to Eleni Hadjigeorgiou at the Cyprus Meteorological Office, the weather conditions experienced in Cyprus this summer are not dramatically different to those witnessed in previous summers. She noted that statistics revealed there was no increase in relative humidity and said, "we feel a 'stickiness' in Nicosia in recent years because our surroundings have changed. The upsurge in tall buildings traps the air and obstructs winds, making the atmosphere more uncomfortable."

    Hadjigeorgiou did admit the frequency of rainfall in the summer months of 2002 was unusual. She also highlighted the increased instability of the island's weather as a feature of the summer so far.

    Global warming has almost certainly had a cumulative effect on climatic conditions worldwide, and may account for the general rise in freak weather conditions over the past century.

    A Greenpeace report entitled The Cyprus Energy Revolution, published in 1999, noted higher than average emissions of carbon dioxide from Cypriot power stations, a fact which is of concern to the island's environmentalists and climatologists alike.

    However, marked changes in weather patterns for Cyprus over the years are difficult to pinpoint due to the relative infancy of the island's meteorological service. "We do not have any studies of our own to show possible climactic changes or the various trends in Cyprus' weather over the past 100 years. The Met Office here was only set up in 1976, and this means we have too few records to produce an accurate study," Hadjigeorgiou said.

    Asked what weather the island could expect for the remainder of the summer, she said forecasters had predicted the possibility of showers on the island over the next few days, but could not offer a longer-term forecast. "We can never be sure about the weather, and can never be certain what will come next," she added.

    Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Police investigating possible forgery in sewage board affair

    By George Psyllides

    POLICE are investigating the possibility that the director of the Sewage Board, suspended on Monday pending investigation into allegations he had falsely presented himself as a Chartered Accountant, had forged his certificates.

    The case emerged last week after Politis newspaper claimed the director of the Sewage Board, Christodoulos Yiallouros, had been falsely presenting himself as a Chartered Accountant, a qualification needed for being appointed to the position.

    On Monday, the Sewage Board decided to suspend Yiallouros and ask the Interior Minister to appoint an investigating officer into the affair.

    Yesterday, deputy Attorney-general Petros Clerides said police were looking into the possibility that the certificate used by Yiallouros had been forged.

    Clerides said there was a suspicion that the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) certificate was forged, so he had instructed police to investigate.

    Clerides, however, stressed that until the investigation was complete he could not say there was any solid evidence, and noted that everyone was innocent until proved guilty. Yiallouros, who has held his post for 30 years, denies the allegations, which he claims are part of a smear campaign.

    The deputy Attorney-general said that while investigating potential forgery, police might led in other directions.

    "They might find that there was no forgery, but rather circulation of a counterfeit document or some other offence," Clerides said.

    Regarding Yiallouros' 30-year service, Clerides said it was for the Sewage Board to decide what measures to take if there was a case against him.

    Clerides said there was nothing further the Attorney-general's office could do until the case file was delivered by police.

    Politis alleged Yiallouros was not a member of ACCA in the UK, a charge he denies, claiming he merely stopped paying his subscription to the association in 1978.

    But the Cyprus Institute of Certified Public Accountants said the ACCA had told them that Yiallouros had never been a member. The Cypriot association therefore struck him off their register last week.

    Afrika calls on Clerides to speak out for jailed journalists

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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