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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, August 28, 2002


  • [01] Time to check prices, says Consumer Association
  • [02] Rolandis hails 'historic' agreements with Greece
  • [03] Turk jailed for forging ID in effort to join British sweetheart
  • [04] New prison chief appointed
  • [05] Cabinet set to approve penalties for late payments
  • [06] Talks resume ahead of crunch meeting in Paris
  • [07] Denktash warns of deeper integration if divided Cyprus joins EU
  • [08] Feuding doctors suspended
  • [09] Nemitsas future in the balance
  • [10] Early retirement for senior officers in effort to root out 'stale' elements
  • [11] DNA testing leads to arson arrest
  • [12] Fewer tourists, fewer drugs

  • [01] Time to check prices, says Consumer Association

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE CYPRUS Consumers' Association (CCA) intends to carry out market surveys that will highlight companies that profiteer in the retail market, its chairman Petros Markou said yesterday.

    Markou asked Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis to convene the Consumers Consultative Committee to consider the need to protect consumers against unwarranted price increases.

    The CCA plans to meet with trade unions and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the subject of rising prices in certain areas. Markou said the CCA was most concerned about price increases in the food industry, restaurant business and some services.

    "Consumers have made general complaints mostly in these areas, but we want to prepare a scientific study to substantiate and document them first before we name names," said Markou.

    The CCA has in the past made comparative price surveys of various companies in the market, receiving a good response from consumers who read the results, said Markou. "We take various companies in the market, like supermarkets, choose identical products and compare their prices. The quality of the service offered is also taken into account, such as shelving and the existence of air conditioning units."

    He maintained that the magnitude of the problem needed to be established so that preventive measures could be taken and where necessary prices reduced to permissible levels. "Some price rises are legitimate given the recent increase in consumer taxes but companies that go beyond that need to be checked," he said. The market surveys will be carried out within the next three weeks. "Consumers need to be fully informed of what is going on around them," said Markou.

    He pointed out one way to express dissatisfaction at an unacceptable state of affairs was to boycott the whole market for a day, like Greek consumers have arranged for September 3, but added that this would only happen in Cyprus as a last resort.

    A Commerce Ministry official noted that liberalisation of the market meant that consumers had the power to affect prices in a competitive market.

    Permanent Secretary of the Small Shopkeepers Association (POVEK), Melios Georgiou, said that no significant price rise on items had been noticed. He added that it was against shopkeepers' interests to raise prices above VAT increases because they had to keep prices competitive.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Rolandis hails 'historic' agreements with Greece

    By Soteris Charalambous

    MINISTER for Commerce and Tourism Nicos Rolandis has hailed three agreements signed with Greece yesterday as historic, not only in the development of economic relations, but in national relations as well.

    Rolandis told the Cyprus Mail the agreement over technology centred on the development of 'technology incubators' and greater fluidity in the exchange of information. Expanding on the details of the agreement, Rolandis said, "Similar to the practice in Silicon Valley in America and Israel, ideas will be developed within these technology incubators."

    Rolandis also revealed that similar agreements were being drawn up with three other countries, Russia, India and America. The agreement in the US will be made directly with the University of Albany.

    In addition to the agreement on technological collaboration, the Minister added that an agreement had been signed to promote greater tourism between the two countries.

    Last year, some 300,000 Cypriots visited Greece but only a third of that figure visited Cyprus. "Last year's figure (of 100,000) was a 50 per cent increase in the number of visitors to Cyprus from Greece on the previous year but it is still not enough," said Rolandis. The agreement gives the green light to the opening of a branch of the Greek Tourism Organisation (EOL) on the island, which will promote tourism between the two countries.

    The third agreement encompassed energy issues and the proposition of industrial ventures. "The agreement covers all aspects of energy co- operation between the two countries including renewable sources and natural gas," said Rolandis. "The agreement on industrial ventures focuses on facilitating the formation of mainly small and medium sized companies."

    The agreements were signed in Nicosia with visiting Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Turk jailed for forging ID in effort to join British sweetheart

    A 22 YEAR-old Turkish man has been sentenced to 12 months in prison by Nicosia District Court after he took on a false identity in an attempt to be reunited with his lover in England, Phileleftheros reported yesterday.

    The son of Turkish settlers in Famagusta, Reslen Guren was working as a waiter in the mixed buffer zone village of Pyla when he fell in love with a young British tourist who regularly visited the village. But the girl had to return to England, leaving Gurel determined to follow her to the UK, reports said.

    The court heard that a Turkish Cypriot friend living in occupied Pentayia felt sorry for Guren and agreed to give him his identity card.

    Having doctored the identity card, Guren entered the free areas illegally last September and went on to obtain a birth certificate from Larnaca authorities.

    His false identity went undetected for almost a year, until he applied for a Cypriot passport. The Cyprus Passport Department then discovered that Guren was not who he claimed to be, and he was arrested by police when he came to collect his new passport.

    The Police Press Office said that Guren had been found guilty of eight separate charges, including assuming a false identity and giving false information to authorities.

    "Guren is now in prison and he will serve the longest sentence applicable out of the eight charges brought against him, which is 12 months," the police press officer said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] New prison chief appointed

    THE CIVIL Service Committee has appointed a new Prison director to replace Haris Themistocleous, who resigned in May.

    Panicos Kyriacou, current aide to the Chief of Police, was selected by the Committee to take over as the new Central Prison warden. Kyriacou was one of two candidates that fulfilled the criteria for the position. It has not yet been decided when he will take up his position.

    Since Themistocleous resigned in May, senior Justice Ministry officer, Spyros Efstathiou, has served as acting head pending the appointment of a replacement. Themistocleous stepped down as prison director over disagreements with Justice Minister Nicos Koshis and after he received a letter telling him to refrain from making public statements about prison policy.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Cabinet set to approve penalties for late payments

    By Soteris Charalambous

    COMMERCE and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis yesterday confirmed that a bill imposing penalties for late payment to suppliers would be heard by the Cabinet today.

    Rolandis described the measure as an, "EU harmonisation bill," required for accession to the European Union, but also a necessary step towards better business practice in the country.

    The bill stipulates that any goods supplied that remain unpaid for more than 30 days will be subject to an interest payment set at seven per cent above what the Central Bank pays for its own financing. "At current rates, this would amount to over 10 per cent," the Minister said.

    In addition to being a necessary step to come into line with the EU, Rolandis acknowledged that many suppliers had voiced their concerns at late payment and that in some cases delays of up to one year had threatened left some businesses on the verge of bankruptcy. Without naming any companies, the minister admitted he had received complaints from suppliers about supermarket chains, but added, "this will also help to stamp out the practice of late payment by small businesses."

    Rolandis was confident that the Cabinet would approve the bill, given it was necessity for EU harmonisation, and that as yet he had not received any contact from supermarket chains expressing resistance, adding that he expected it to go before the House by October.

    Melios Georgiou, General Secretary of the small retailers association (POVEK) expressed his support for the bill, agreeing with the need for, "a specific time frame to be stipulated," and insisting the imposition of fines was necessary to ensure its enforcement. Georgiou added, "Something like this should have been done a long time ago."

    Paul Pavlos, Public Relations Manager at CTC, the company that owns the Woolworths chain of stores and companies that supply supermarkets said, "I am not in a position to comment on this matter." Alfamega (formerly Charalambides), Orphanides and Chris Cash and Carry were unavailable for comment on the plan.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Talks resume ahead of crunch meeting in Paris

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday resumed direct UN-led negotiation talks ahead of next week's key meeting in Paris with UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan.

    According to government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, Annan is expected to appraise how both leaders feel about UN plans to put forward a proposal outlining a solution to the Cyprus problem, with the intention of securing a compromise agreement, which will pave the way for an eventual solution. In fact, the UN is said to have already prepared such a document, which facilitates a process of give and take, on the basis of past non-papers, and the most recent discussions between Clerides and Denktash.

    "We have received information that we should expect such a proposal (in Paris)," he said, which would make the next four months the most "critical and crucial period for the Cyprus problem," as the December deadline for the island's EU accession course looms and both difficult and definitive decisions are made.

    "Both sides are anticipating such a proposal, which is being presented now so that we have enough time to reach an agreement prior to December when the EU will vote on whether or not Cyprus' accession course is approved," said Papapetrou.

    After seven months of talks, little progress has been made towards a comprehensive settlement, with Denktash insisting on the creation of two states in Cyprus.

    Yesterday's talks marked the beginning of the sixth round of talks, which began in January, after a three-week summer break, with each side outlining its respective position on the issue of sovereignty.

    The meeting lasted an hour in the presence of UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto. Unlike at previous meetings, neither side had any advisers present.

    Despite suggestions that Denktash had been planning to submit a new proposal for a solution yesterday, reliable sources said no ideas or suggestions were put forward.

    The next meeting is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 4pm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Denktash warns of deeper integration if divided Cyprus joins EU

    By Gokhan Tezgor

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday warned his self-declared statelet could hand over its defence, financial and diplomatic affairs to Ankara if the European Union admits a divided Cyprus.

    Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides are under pressure to solve the Cyprus problem by the end of the year when Brussels is expected to announce a date for the island's accession, probably in 2004 or 2005.

    The veteran leaders met yesterday for the start of the sixth round of UN- backed face-to-face peace talks that began in January but have so far produced little headway.

    "If (talks) do not work by the end of the year, and if the EU makes the mistake of saying they accept Cyprus now as it is, then we have to look for new alternatives for our future," Denktash told Reuters in an interview.

    "One alternative is to re-align our administration and consider giving to Turkey...our foreign affairs and defence ministries and monetary matters under a protocol until Turkey enters the EU."

    He emphasised no decisions had been made, but that closer integration with Turkey was one of the options.

    Denktash wants Cyprus to become a confederation, or partnership, of two equal and largely independent states. Greek Cypriots want reunification under a loose federal system of two regions.

    The EU has said it will admit Cyprus whether or not the ethnic Greek and Turkish sides reach an agreement.

    That move could pitch Turkey, itself an EU candidate, and Brussels into crisis. Ankara has signalled it could annex the north of the island if the south joins the bloc.

    "If the EU accepts Cyprus (without a settlement) as a member, that is the end of the road. Then we have to look after our own country, because we are not that Cyprus," Denktash said yesterday.

    The standoff is also a source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey. Athens has threatened to block EU enlargement if Cyprus does not join in the first wave.

    In a bid to end the deadlock, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is to meet Clerides and Denktash on September 6 in Paris.

    "I understand (Annan's) invitation is to tell us we have lost time," Denktash said. "We are assured that we will have no surprises in these talks."

    The 78-year-old leader rejected charges from Greek Cypriots and international observers that he has been unyielding.

    "The international community looks at us through the eyes of the Greek Cypriots and says, 'Turkish Cypriots are not co-operating'," said Denktash.

    "I am accused of being intransigent, because I continue to say that my mandate is to have a settlement based on the existence of my state," he said.

    "Let us establish a joint roof over our heads which will represent Cyprus internationally - an international single voice," he said. "Underneath (there will be) two constituent states. What is wrong with that?

    "We are not seeking recognition from each country as an independent state. There is no need for this if a new partnership (between the sides) is to be established.

    "We want acknowledgement by the Greek Cypriots that we are as sovereign as they are, we are as independent as they are."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Feuding doctors suspended

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday the Public Services Committee had agreed late in the afternoon to suspend the two doctors in the Cardiological Unit of Limassol General Hospital while police continue their investigations into allegations of medical negligence causing loss of life.

    The suspension of Dr Michalis Minas, Head of the Cardiological Unit at the hospital, and cardiologist Dr Joseph Moutiris will commence today.

    Police launched a criminal investigation into the actions of the two public service doctors on Monday after they accused each other on television of medical negligence causing loss of life over the weekend.

    Representatives of cardiological patients met the minister yesterday to express their support for Moutiris, asking that he remain at work as he was already acquainted with the patients for some years now and was in the best position to consult them. Savvides assured the patients that all necessary measures would be taken to avoid any problems regarding their treatment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Nemitsas future in the balance

    By Alex Mita

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides said yesterday the future of the Nemitsas foundry in Limassol lay with the findings of the Labour Ministry technical committee on whether emissions from the foundry were within EU limits.

    The emission tests were carried out after residents around the foundry complained that children at a nearby school were inhaling gases which contained lethal chemicals.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Savvides said the technical committee would present the Cabinet with the results of the emissions tests today.

    "We will have a Cabinet meeting, at which I am sure there will be a briefing by the technical committee, who have determined whether the limits of emissions are within the limits set by the European Union," Savvides said.

    "Samples of the emissions they took were examined by the state laboratory and have been submitted to the technical committee, and now they must decide whether these are within the limits required by the EU or not."

    Savvides said that, based on the results, the government would start looking at two possible options.

    "If the foundry's emissions are within acceptable EU limits then we shall have to see some other way of dealing with the matter through negotiations, with the residents," Savvides said.

    "If it is not within the limits then we will be actually giving notice and asking the foundry to relocate."

    The Minister insisted that, whatever happened, the government would take the matter up as soon as they have official confirmation of where they stood.

    "Rest assured that if there is an issue of unacceptable limits in the foundry's emissions, we will do our outmost to find a final solution to the problem and that is to find a way to move the foundry, whether we can do it by actually taking legal action against them or by negotiating with the Nemitsas people to leave," Savvides said.

    A spokesman of the parents' association in Limassol, Kyriacos Valanides, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday parents were seriously considering not sending their children to school this year.

    "They can study at home," he said. "I will not risk my child's health by sending it to school, where it will breathe those chemicals."

    Valanides said if the technical committee's findings showed that the level of emissions from the foundry were within acceptable levels, the parents would be happy if Nemitsas operated in the afternoons, when their children were not at school.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Early retirement for senior officers in effort to root out 'stale' elements

    By Sofia Kannas

    A LIST of senior National Guard officers has been drawn up for early retirement to allow promotion further down the ranks after a meeting of the newly formed army Retirement Council.

    The Council was set up after a new law was passed allowing for the early discharge of high-ranking officers.

    On Monday, the Ministers of Finance and the Interior studied a list of National Guard officers, and following recommendations from Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos, a list of those to be discharged was drawn up.

    Defence Ministry spokesman, Andreas Yiorkas yesterday confirmed that the new law would affect officers holding the military ranks of Colonel and above.

    "The Minister of Defence, along with other ministers, will now be able to release these high ranking officers from service before their time is up.

    "The law also allows us to promote existing officers from Colonel to Brigadier and from Brigadier to General. Those promoted will receive an appropriate salary for their new rank," he said.

    Asked whether the law would adversely affect those discharged prematurely, Yiorkas revealed that officers released without fulfilling 33 years' service would still be entitled to the usual retirement package by law.

    "Officers released early will get the full retirement benefits, even if they have not served the full 33 years and eight months".

    According to Yiorkas, the reason the new legislation is designed to clear a backlog of lower ranking officers awaiting promotion.

    "At the moment, there are simply too many high ranking officers stuck in the same positions," he said.

    "The new measures pave the way for lower-ranking officers deserving promotion to be given a rank upgrade. It should bring new life to the National Guard by rooting out 'stale' elements, " he added.

    The Council of Ministers will today confirm the names of the 27 officers chosen for early retirement and the National Guard will inform those affected.

    The effects of the new law will be immediate, as those selected for discharge will have to retire within the next few days, while officers chosen for promotion will also receive an instant upgrade.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] DNA testing leads to arson arrest

    LARNACA Police yesterday confirmed that the use of DNA testing had been critical in the arrest of an alleged arsonist.

    In July, a car belonging to Andreas Koutouris was set ablaze in Ayios Ioannis near Larnaca, resulting in over 4,000 worth of damage to the vehicle. On Monday, 24-year-old Lazaros Philippou from Dromolaxia was arrested on suspicion of committing the arson and remanded in custody for five days following the presentation of DNA evidence in court linking him to the crime.

    In recent years, new policing methods have been introduced to improve the crime-solving rate, in particular over cases involving arsons and bomb attacks. CID chief Andreas Aristidou recently told the Cyprus Mail that the increased use of DNA testing would help solve such crimes.

    The island's police force started using DNA testing back in 1998, availing of the Genetics Institute's facilities, which went operational that same year. The first major case cracked using the new methods was that involving the 1997 murder of a French tourist by a local taxi driver.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Fewer tourists, fewer drugs

    By Alex Mita

    FEWER young tourists have visited Cyprus this year, resulting in a 25 per cent drop in drugs cases, police said yesterday.

    Drug Squad commander George Papageorgiou attributed the drop in drug cases involving tourists to the fact that not so many young tourists had visited Ayia Napa this year from the UK.

    "One of the main reasons for this drop is that there are more families instead of young tourists visiting the island this year," Papageorgiou said.

    "But we are pleased that there are less cases this year.

    "Another reason is that clubbers now prefer to go to Rhodes instead of Ayia Napa," Papageorgiou said.

    During last year's holiday season, there were 45 drugs cases involving 69 tourists. This year, police investigated just 33 cases and 49 tourists.

    In contrast, Papageorgiou told the Cyprus Mail that the number of drugs cases involving Cypriots had increased slightly.

    "Last year, we had 74 cases in which Cypriots would buy or sell drugs to or from foreigners, while this year we have 75," he said.

    Papageorgiou added that this year the drug squad had stepped up its systematic checks in nightclubs in Ayia Napa.

    According to the drug squad, the most popular drugs in the resort are ecstasy and marijuana.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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