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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-11-14

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Saturday, November 14, 1998

Minister and bishop under fire

THE SAGAS of two high-ranking public figures under fire dominated the front pages of the local dailies yesterday as the tale of the Israeli 'spies' slipped from the headlines.

Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides went before the House watchdog committee to face the music over allegations of unlawful enrichment made by committee chairman Christos Pourgourides.

Bishop Chrysanthos of Limassol had an audience with Archbishop Chrysostomos and members of the Holy Synod to discuss a charge sheet - detailing allegations of involvement in financial scams - presented to him by a Synod investigative committee the day before.

Alithia reported how journalists covering the watchdog committee meeting were astounded that the minister was hardly asked any searching questions at all by members of the committee. It was amazing that deputies seemed so unmoved by an affair that had grabbed the headlines for so long, the paper stated.

Only seven questions were put to Michaelides during the whole session, and only two of those were relevant to the subject under debate, Alithia said. One of the deputies present even departed before the conclusion of the debate, a strange move even if he had good reason to do so, the paper added.

Simerini's coverage of the committee meeting focused on Pourgourides's outrage when Michaelides produced as evidence in his defence the content of a conversation between Pourgourides and his son Vangelis. The committee chairman demanded to know how Michaelides had come to know the content of this private conversation. The minister did not answer, but Akel deputy Kikis Yiangou piped up to say it was common knowledge that telephone conversations were routinely tapped by the government, Simerini stated.

Right-wing Machi concluded that Pourgourides had been left exposed by Michaelides's retorts to the accusations levelled at him. "I won't quit to satisfy Mr Pourgourides," was the Michaelides quote Machi chose to headline its story with.

The minister produced evidence suggesting Pourgourides was motivated by a vindictive desire to end Michaelides's political career, the paper said.

Left-wing Haravghi's coverage put the committee meeting in a rather different light. Its story painted a picture of an arrogant minister who considered deviating from planning permits to extend his luxury home the "natural" thing for someone in his position to indulge in. The minister avoided giving any straight answers to the charges before him, the paper stated.

On the Chrysanthos story, Haravghi reported that the cleric had failed in his attempt to get the Synod to tone down the charges against him.

Machi stated the countdown had begun for the Limassol Bishop as he was given a fortnight in which to prepare his response to the charges.

In it's editorial, Simerini stated the Church was now in the middle of an "unprecedented crisis which the naive statements of its supporters could not hide."

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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