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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-22

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Thursday, August 22, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Savvides pledges full ambulance reform
  • [02] Refugee seeking court order to claim compensation from Turkish bank
  • [03] Bank dispute rumbles on
  • [04] Savvides pledges full ambulance reform
  • [05] Drug squad officers charged with assault against motorist
  • [06] 'Here lies Grecos restaurant buried by the Municipality, the CTO and VAT'
  • [07] Part of house swallowed as land collapses in Ergates
  • [08] Illegal immigrants arrested

  • [01] Savvides pledges full ambulance reform

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A CENTRALISED ambulance unit will be up and running within two months' time, with specially trained paramedics providing medical care en route to the hospital within a year, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday.

    The minister acknowledged that a long time had been taken to consider the problem before deciding to provide an early intervention service by medically trained and well-equipped staff. He blamed delays in the training of paramedics on a lack of allocated funds, but promised training would begin soon to provide fully trained staff in ambulances nationwide within a year.

    The continued lack of paramedics on ambulances has hampered efforts to raise the survival rate of emergency patients en route to hospital. Despite reports providing evidence that paramedic services stem road death rates, declarations of action have remained empty promises by government officials for years. Figures recently released by the Health Ministry reveal that around 50 people die a year because of inadequate staff and equipment on ambulances in Cyprus.

    Ambulance chief Andreas Kouppis made his first report on the shortcomings of the ambulance service, with the guidance of British experts, over 10 years ago. In 1994, a World Health Organisation study criticised the ambulance system in place and urged that a paramedic one replace it by 1995. A 1996 study by a British paramedic consultant concluded that, two years on, none of the WHO report's recommendations had been implemented. The year before that Kouppis had submitted an eight-year, £5-million plan to create an independent paramedic service, which got held up at the Finance Ministry's Planning Bureau awaiting funds.

    Kouppis maintains efforts are constantly being made to improve the ambulance service, including extra training for drivers on communication codes and the approval of 19 new ambulances to add to the 50 existing ones for next year. His new report includes the provision of a paramedic system, three new ambulance stations and a centralised ambulance unit.

    Pathologist and deputy Marios Matsakis said yesterday a complete change in the system was needed to provide a proper ambulance service in Cyprus. "We need new properly-equipped vehicles to replace old ones, a centralised control of emergency services and trained paramedic staff to accompany ambulances," he said.

    Matsakis highlighted that specially trained people were not permanently available to administer the basic needs of resuscitation, like fixing a tube to the larynx to provide oxygen, or working defibrillators (electro shock) to prevent cardiac arrest. Currently, ambulances carry a medically untrained driver and a nurse who is not permitted to administer medication to the patient. "These conditions, coupled with the response time for ambulances to reach the hospital, could mean life or death for a patient," said Matsakis.

    He welcomed the announcement by Savvides for a centralised ambulance unit, which will co-ordinate the fleet of vehicles and provide a team of experts to determine who will be sent where. But he warned, "A central station is a good step forward but only if it is implemented. We need to see action not words."

    Matsakis pleaded for measures to be taken immediately to tackle the current limitations of the ambulance service: "An expert needs to be placed on the receiving end of hospital calls to make the decision when a doctor should be sent out, not untrained staff. One of the police helicopters should be allocated to the transfer of patients until a helicopter ambulance can be purchased and pilots should be on call 24-hours a day."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Refugee seeking court order to claim compensation from Turkish bank

    By George Psyllides

    THE CENTRAL Bank said yesterday that it would not comment on press reports that a refugee from occupied Morphou was seeking a court order binding £600, 000 from the assets of a Turkish bank deposited in the Central Bank as compensation for the use of her property in the north.

    According to Alithia, Elpida Erotocritou-Chrysochou has filed an appeal with the Nicosia district court demanding that Turkish Bank Ltd, which operates branches in the north, pay £600,000 for the illegal use of her property in Morphou.

    Chrysochou is seeking a court order that would freeze the amount from deposits kept by the bank with the Central Bank of Cyprus.

    In her appeal, Chrysochou stressed the bank should not be notified lest it decided to withdraw its deposits.

    The woman's appeal was filed in July and the Turkish bank was represented in court by a lawyer who crossed from the north.

    According to her husband's sworn testimony, the plaintiff, after negotiations with Chartered Bank, decided in 1969 to demolish a building they owned on the corner of Vyronos and Ermou Street in Morphou, which included a house and shops.

    It was agreed that the basement and the ground floor of the new building would be leased to Chartered Bank for 20 years.

    Initial annual rent was set at £1,980 for the first five years with a condition to renew that amount every five years.

    The first floor comprised offices and a house.

    On July 20, 1974, Chrysohou and the other Greek Cypriot residents of Morphou were forced to abandon their properties after Turkey invaded the island and occupied the northern part.

    By December, Alithia said, Turkish Bank Ltd had illegally moved into the property.

    Turkish Bank Ltd is a registered company with the company registrar in the free areas of the Republic, the paper said.

    According to reports, the bank was registered as a company in Cyprus prior to 1974.

    The Central Bank said that because the case was still pending in court it would not be proper to make any comments.

    It is understood, however, that Turkish Bank Ltd has considerable deposits with the Central Bank that could easily cover the £600,000 sought by the plaintiff.

    The plaintiff said she had the bank's annual reports and photographs proving that her property was being used.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Bank dispute rumbles on

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THE three-week old bank employees dispute appeared no closer to solution yesterday as all parties involved spoke about a deadlock and renewed the possibility of further industrial action.

    Chairman of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), Vassilis Rologis, appealed to the secretary general of the bank employees union (ETYK) Loizos Hadjicostis to accept the final proposals of the Bankers Employers' association (BEA) as the sides approached the final day of negotiations. The dispute centers on the renewal of the collective agreement and the failure to agree on a pay rise, the establishment of an annual fund to boost employees' social benefits, improved retirement bonuses, recognition of working trial periods, improved housing loans and more management postions.

    For its part the BEA wants to increase public opening hours, to introduce afternoon service in International Business Units, to employ part-time staff during peak hours in order to improve customer service and to allow outgoing calls from call-centers during afternoon hours.

    Labour Ministry mediator, Andreas Mousioutas, said : "As yet there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel, nor does there appear to be any way to bring the two sides closer to agreement."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Savvides pledges full ambulance reform

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A CENTRALISED ambulance unit will be up and running within two months' time, with specially trained paramedics providing medical care en route to the hospital within a year, Health Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday.

    The minister acknowledged that a long time had been taken to consider the problem before deciding to provide an early intervention service by medically trained and well-equipped staff. He blamed delays in the training of paramedics on a lack of allocated funds, but promised training would begin soon to provide fully trained staff in ambulances nationwide within a year.

    The continued lack of paramedics on ambulances has hampered efforts to raise the survival rate of emergency patients en route to hospital. Despite reports providing evidence that paramedic services stem road death rates, declarations of action have remained empty promises by government officials for years. Figures recently released by the Health Ministry reveal that around 50 people die a year because of inadequate staff and equipment on ambulances in Cyprus.

    Ambulance chief Andreas Kouppis made his first report on the shortcomings of the ambulance service, with the guidance of British experts, over 10 years ago. In 1994, a World Health Organisation study criticised the ambulance system in place and urged that a paramedic one replace it by 1995. A 1996 study by a British paramedic consultant concluded that, two years on, none of the WHO report's recommendations had been implemented. The year before that Kouppis had submitted an eight-year, £5-million plan to create an independent paramedic service, which got held up at the Finance Ministry's Planning Bureau awaiting funds.

    Kouppis maintains efforts are constantly being made to improve the ambulance service, including extra training for drivers on communication codes and the approval of 19 new ambulances to add to the 50 existing ones for next year. His new report includes the provision of a paramedic system, three new ambulance stations and a centralised ambulance unit.

    Pathologist and deputy Marios Matsakis said yesterday a complete change in the system was needed to provide a proper ambulance service in Cyprus. "We need new properly-equipped vehicles to replace old ones, a centralised control of emergency services and trained paramedic staff to accompany ambulances," he said.

    Matsakis highlighted that specially trained people were not permanently available to administer the basic needs of resuscitation, like fixing a tube to the larynx to provide oxygen, or working defibrillators (electro shock) to prevent cardiac arrest. Currently, ambulances carry a medically untrained driver and a nurse who is not permitted to administer medication to the patient. "These conditions, coupled with the response time for ambulances to reach the hospital, could mean life or death for a patient," said Matsakis.

    He welcomed the announcement by Savvides for a centralised ambulance unit, which will co-ordinate the fleet of vehicles and provide a team of experts to determine who will be sent where. But he warned, "A central station is a good step forward but only if it is implemented. We need to see action not words."

    Matsakis pleaded for measures to be taken immediately to tackle the current limitations of the ambulance service: "An expert needs to be placed on the receiving end of hospital calls to make the decision when a doctor should be sent out, not untrained staff. One of the police helicopters should be allocated to the transfer of patients until a helicopter ambulance can be purchased and pilots should be on call 24-hours a day."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Drug squad officers charged with assault against motorist

    By George Psyllides

    THE ATTORNEY-general's office yesterday filed charges against two drug squad officers in connection with the alleged beating of a motorist at a Nicosia petrol station they were staking out in anticipation of a drug sale.

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

    Lefteris Georgiou, 29, drove into the station to fill up his car when, according to reports, he was grabbed and beaten by officers staking out the scene.

    Police 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 thought 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. The findings were damning for two officers.

    Yesterday, deputy Attorney-general Petros Clerides filed charges against Sergeant Kypros Mouzouros and Officer George Christofides.

    Both men were named in the findings of the independent investigator, Costas Nicolaides, whose report was adopted by Clerides.

    Clerides said both drug squad officers were "responsible for the maltreatment of Lefteris Georgiou".

    He added that both men had received the charge sheet and they would be called to answer the charges at a date that would be set by the court.

    The charges are of causing grievous bodily harm and assault with real bodily harm.

    Clerides said it was up to the chief of police to decide whether to suspend the two officers.

    He expressed his concern at the frequency of allegations of police brutality.

    "This is not the only case against police officers.

    "There are other pending cases and I have given instructions today for a charge sheet to be prepared in connection with another citizen's claim that was been ill-treated," Clerides said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] 'Here lies Grecos restaurant buried by the Municipality, the CTO and VAT'

    By Alex Mita

    THASSOS Ioannou has spent a lifetime cooking traditional Byzantine cuisine at his restaurant, Grecos on Menandrou Street in Nicosia. But his regular customers have recently discovered to their dismay that the restaurant, which has served them for 28 years, will soon be closing down, because the owner of the premises has decided to pull the 1930s house down to make way for an apartment block. Now Grecos is looking for a new home.

    "Here lies Grecos restaurant, buried by the Municipality, the CTO and VAT," says a sign pasted on the gate of the old building that houses the restaurant.

    The reason is that the municipality requires that restaurants should have a parking area. Anyone wanting to open a restaurant is told by the municipality how many parking spaces it should have. If you can provide those parking spaces, all is well. But if a restaurateur cannot provide parking for any reason, he must pay the municipality £5,000 for every parking space he has not provided.

    Ioannou cannot find a restaurant in or around Nicosia with parking. He needs to have eight parking spaces, so now he must pay the municipality £40, 000.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Ioannou said he was at his wits' end.

    "This is an old tavern with 28 years of tradition. The owner has decided to tear the building down, but we have a problem to open somewhere else, because the municipality said we have to pay up £40,000 for a parking area we cannot build, because there is no place to build it," he said.

    Ioannou said that people with restaurants on Ledra Street had all paid huge sums to the Municipality for lack of parking, even though the municipality knew they could build parking areas on the pedestrian street.

    "The municipality's attitude does not allow small businesses to open," he said.

    "If someone wants to open a traditional tavern in old Nicosia, he has to be a millionaire. If you have to pay £40,000 for the parking alone, what about the renovation, the equipment, the tables, chairs, cutlery, what about all that? How can a small restaurant afford that?"

    The house itself is a handsome construction, erected in 1933, with a mature garden providing shade to diners. The other buildings on the street are all modern concrete blocks. Sitting in Ioannou's garden, with cicadas buzzing away on trees that will soon been uprooted by developers, it's easy to understand why the restaurant has been such a popular place.

    Ioannou said the house should have been listed and protected, but it is doomed because it does not lie within the walls.

    Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zampelas was quick to defend the parking rule, saying chaos would prevail without it.

    "For someone to get a permit to run a business in Nicosia, they must have a number of parking places available. If they cannot produce parking, then they have to pay for it and it is £5,000 per parking space.

    But we don't put it into our pockets or use it to pay salaries or whatever, we use it so that we can create parking spaces in Nicosia.

    This is the law, the rule."

    Zampelas denied suggestions that the amount charged to restaurateurs was ludicrous.

    "It's not an outrageous amount, because if we don't charge this amount then Nicosia will be full of cars and then no one will be able to find parking anywhere," he said.

    "It's not a prohibitive amount. This is a law that would simply put an order to the chaos that exists at the moment," Zampelas said.

    "If he finds a place with parking then he doesn't have to pay anything."

    However, the Mayor warned there was a moratorium on licences for new restaurants and cafés in old Nicosia until the end of the year.

    "Let him go find a place and he can contact us for a permit. He must convince us he has parking."

    The permit costs just £5.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Part of house swallowed as land collapses in Ergates

    By Sofia Kannas

    PART of a house in Ergates village has collapsed due to land subsidence, sparking fears that other homes in the area might be similarly affected, village authorities said yesterday.

    A relative of the family owning the house was almost swallowed into the ground, along with several goats and trees, as the land began to give way on Tuesday night.

    It has since emerged that the house, which lies in the eastern part of the village, was built on land concealing a disused well.

    According to village Mukhtar Kyriacos Christodoulou, the subsidence has occurred as a result of the heavy rainfall this year, coming after a five- year drought. He also cited the new Tamassos dam as another factor responsible for the sudden water flow through the underground water channels.

    Christodoulou yesterday expressed his sympathies for the family and his regret at the situation in the village, and warned that preventive measures had to be taken by the responsible authorities. "We cannot afford to leave things to luck, something must be done to prevent a repeat of this case," he added.

    Asked who was responsible for allowing a new house to be built on land prone to subsidence, the Mukhtar said the Interior Ministry had given planning permission for the house. "They don't appear to have been thorough enough in considering the potential dangers of permitting building at this particular spot."

    Following a visit to the affected area, the leader of the Greens, George Perdikis yesterday voiced similar concerns. He claimed that the chain of wells would have been clearly visible on topographic maps used by authorities when considering giving planning permission.

    "The wells and channels should have been noted. It was negligent of the authorities to allow building given the obvious presence of these," he added.

    However, a member of the family was anxious not to blame authorities for the incident, claiming that there had been no evidence at the time of a well beneath the land.

    Litsa Loizou, head of the Department of Town Planning for Ergates, refused to comment on the issue.

    Perdikis stressed that such water channels were to be found all over Cyprus, and that the subsidence seen in Ergates could occur elsewhere on the island.

    "You can even find these wells in Nicosia," he said. "The problem is that they have been forgotten due to years of disuse. In the past, the wells and channels were carefully maintained. But new means of irrigation and the consequent abandonment of wells have meant they have become a liability. A sudden increase in water flow after a dry period can lead the well's sides to give way. Once buildings have been erected above, severe subsidence is almost inevitable."

    Asked what action was to be taken with regard to the situation in Ergates, Perdikis said he expected measures to be finalised at a meeting with district authorities to be attended on Monday by the directors of the Departments of Geological Surveying and Water Development.

    Meanwhile, villagers residing in areas within close proximity to the house are hoping that they will not become the next victims of subsidence.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Illegal immigrants arrested

    ELEVEN suspected illegal immigrants have been arrested after the Syrian boat that was carrying them entered the island's territorial waters, police said yesterday.

    Police said the small fishing vessel was spotted at 10.50pm on Tuesday by a coastguard patrol boat, around three miles off the island's southeastern coast near Paralimni.

    Reports said the boat had sailed from Latakia in Syria.

    The 11 men, including two crew, were all Syrian and aged between 17 and 36, police said.

    A marine police spokesman said four patrol boats had been combing the sea on a 24-hour basis in a bid to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants.

    Cyprus is frequently used as a transit point by migrants wishing to reach Europe.

    The island has a strict no-landing policy and police patrol boats have on many occasions intercepted boatloads of migrants and turned them away.

    Cyprus is looking to beef up its defences by installing coastal surveillance radars, but their procurement has been delayed for political reasons.

    The tender was won by an Israeli company, but the House has been reluctant to release the funds due to Israel's military alliance with Turkey.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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