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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-10

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

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


Friday, January 10, 2003

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Doctors forced to induce birth after pregnant teacher kicked by pupil of 9
  • [02] Coptic Patriarch arrives in Cyprus
  • [03] Markides: I won't compromise just to gain votes
  • [04] Turkish Cypriots call new mass rally for Tuesday
  • [05] Believe what you will: rival opinion polls battle it out in the north
  • [06] Greece sees no problems for accession
  • [07] Cyprus says no approach for hosting interviews of Iraqi scientists
  • [08] Five-year plan to rejuvenate Nicosia
  • [09] Paphos rubbish collectors on strike
  • [10] 1,200 passports for Turkish Cypriots

  • [01] Doctors forced to induce birth after pregnant teacher kicked by pupil of 9

    By Sofia Kannas

    TEACHERS and parents yesterday united in condemnation of an incident in which a Nicosia primary school teacher was rushed to a gynaecological clinic after being kicked in the stomach by a nine-year-old pupil.

    The teacher, who was six months pregnant, suffered violent pains in her stomach following the attack and doctors had no choice but to induce the birth prematurely. The baby is being kept in an incubator.

    The incident, which took place a few days ago, was confirmed yesterday by Sophocles Charalambides, President of the Teachers' Association.

    "A nine year-old boy kicked his teacher in the stomach without reason," Charalambides said.

    "We have expressed our deepest sympathies and support for the teacher in question.

    "As an organisation, we have looked into this and other less extreme cases of violent and anti-social behaviour among students, and we ask the Education Ministry to address the issue of discipline in schools.

    "We also ask that the Ministry should extend its role in providing support and treatment to children suffering from psychological problems. But of course we are also concerned to offer adequate protection to our teachers," he added.

    "I hope such incidents can be reduced. We will co-operate with the Ministry and the Parents' Association to try and ensure this in future."

    Dinos Ellinas, President of the Primary School Parents' Association expressed his dismay at the news.

    "Such behaviour is obviously not to be condoned.

    "We need to examine the child's history and then refer him to a psychologist.

    "However, we must remember that such happenings are rare on the whole and we should not overstate the case," he added.

    Social Psychologist Dr. Stavros Stavrou believes that the boy's behaviour can be explained by various psychology theories.

    "We do not know the specific reason behind the child's reaction," he said. "It could be that the child was frustrated and angry and reacted in this fashion because of these negative feelings.

    "Children often react violently in imitation of what they see in the mass media or even within their own home.

    "A child is not born aggressive, but we are all born with instincts such as anger and we all react to anger in different ways.

    "But any child which reacts with such violence in the classroom needs professional help and should not be branded as evil."

    Stavrou, who has lectured extensively in child psychology, is concerned by the number of incidents in Cyprus involving violent and antisocial behaviour in the classroom.

    "Antagonistic relations between students and teachers here in Cyprus certainly exist. There have been many such cases in our classrooms.

    "Usually, the problem is rooted within the family and does not originate in the classroom. Children who are ignored at home often transfer their inner frustration to others, sometimes in the form of violence.

    "However, teachers themselves could find better ways of controlling student anger. When training to become a teacher, you are usually taught how to treat and deal with problematic children. Parents do not get this sort of guidance."

    Stavrou emphasized the need for the Education Ministry to re-address its strategy with regard to education in Cyprus.

    "It's very sad but this latest incident is indicative of a problem that is to be found in most schools. The Ministry must find ways of training not just the mind but also the body and soul of a child," he said.

    "Our schools place too much emphasis on academic achievements and exams, and this fosters unhealthy competition within the classroom.

    "The curriculum neglects other aspects to child development such as the cultivation of communication skills and character. Physical education is also important as it reduces tension and frustration.

    "These are critical issues for the whole education system in Cyprus," he added.

    No one at the Education Ministry was available for comment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [02] Coptic Patriarch arrives in Cyprus

    By Tania Khadder

    HIS Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the Pope of Alexiandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark of the Coptic Orthodox Church, arrived in Cyprus yesterday.

    His visit is part of a two-day meeting of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) to discuss preparations for the November MECC General Assembly and other issues, including the possibility of moving the Middle East desk of the World Council of Churches from Geneva to a regional country, and the role of the MECC in the situation in Palestine and Iraq. Changes to the MECC constitution, church unity, and Christian-Muslim dialogue are also on the meeting's agenda, MECC Secretary General Riad Jar Jour told CNA yesterday.

    His Holiness is one of the 24 delegates coming from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and other countries who will take part in the meeting. On Saturday, he will participate in the inauguration of the Coptic Church in Limassol, followed by the inauguration of the Coptic Church in Nicosia.

    The Coptic Patriarch is known for his commitment to church unity and for encouraging women and young people to participate actively in the church. He is the author of over 100 books on a variety of subjects, and has been the editor-in-chief of El-Keraza Magazine, the official publication of the Coptic Orthodox Church, since 1962.

    He will return to Cairo on Monday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [03] Markides: I won't compromise just to gain votes

    By George Psyllides

    INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Alecos Markides yesterday said he would not change his policies on the Cyprus problem just to win votes from the left or the right.

    "This is not my intention. I have my views, they are known; my approach is known," Markides said.

    He added: "So I invite people, with my cards on the table, to vote for me no matter where they belong, knowing who and what I am."

    Markides, is still technically Attorney-general, but has put himself on unpaid leave until February 28.

    In a news conference on Wednesday, Markides said he would submit his resignation on March 1 if he failed to get elected. At most, he would stay on for two months if asked to do so by the new president.

    Yesterday, he stressed that if elected he would maintain the political approach, which led to the Copenhagen triumph, adding, however, it would be necessary to have the correct negotiating strategy to make the UN solution plan viable.

    He said he was not prepared to change his direction to the left or right in order to win votes, noting his conviction that he could bring about change in the domestic administration of the island, especially regarding political mentalities.

    On his differences with long-time associate and rival candidate President Glafcos Clerides, Markides said the most important was the 16-month mandate the President was seeking.

    "He is asking for a 16-month mandate for the Cyprus problem; if it's solved it's solved, if not, he resigns and we have new elections," Markides said.

    "In other, words we have a continuation of the election period for another 16 months with uncertain results," he added.

    The presidential hopeful suggested that that period could be shorter if, as Clerides has said, there are no prospects for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Markides said Clerides' bid did not embrace the island's domestic problems, especially since the other parties had already rejected the President's proposal for a broader government.

    "He is telling us that as President he would deal with the Cyprus problem; what about the rest?

    "The other issues are equally important and are related to the island's future," Markides said.

    He said there were many issues, including the completion of EU accession as well as the preparation of the economy for the common European currency.

    "We must have a president who would be responsible for all this and not a president dealing with one major issue and others dealing with the rest.

    "Who would deal with the internal administration?" Markides said.

    Concerning his other presidential rival, DIKO chief Tassos Papadopoulos, Markides said he had his own way of negotiating, which would not lead anywhere.

    "It would lead to stagnation," Markides said.

    AKEL leader Demetris Christofias suggested Markides could not be objective because he "is in conflict with his former superior and political father, Glafcos Clerides".

    Commenting on Markides' view that Papadopoulos had a different negotiating style, Christofias said: "We don't have to apologise to anyone for anything."

    "Our positions are clear," he added.

    He said Papadopoulos' positions were clear and warned his opponents to stop creating theories because they only did damage and nothing else.

    "Mr. Papadopoulos will continue to negotiate with a lot of seriousness and consistency, will continue to negotiate with biological and psychological endurance to arrive to a solution," Christofias said.

    He added: "This is the goal, this is AKEL and DIKO's and Mr. Papadopoulos' policy; everything else are our opponents election tricks."

    Markides has said that if Clerides gets re-elected and steps down after 16 months then Christofias - as leader of the House - would be president for 40 days with the power to form his own Cabinet.

    The AKEL leader said such positions had nothing to do with modern beliefs, adding Markides had presented the possibility of him being president as a "bogey man".

    "Is this the modernity that Markides brings to the political state of affairs?"

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [04] Turkish Cypriots call new mass rally for Tuesday

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot party leaders yesterday sent a strong message of opposition to Rauf Denktash following a meeting with their Greek Cypriot counterparts at the Ledra Palace, as ordinary Turkish Cypriots called a new mass rally for next Tuesday.

    After the Ledra Palace meeting, which was attended by Council of Europe Secretary-General Walter Schwimmer, Izet Izcan, the general secretary of the United Cyprus Party, said time was running out for a solution.

    "We missed the first train in Copenhagen and we would like to catch it on February 28" - the new deadline set for an agreement so that a united Cyprus can sign the EU accession treaty in April.

    "We have made it known to the world that we are not recognising Denktash as a representative of the Turkish Cypriots because he is not supporting our interests," Izcan said. He called on the Greek Cypriot community to help not just the Turkish Cypriots, but to help Cyprus towards reunification in supporting the Annan plan. He also called on the Greek Cypriot side to be "flexible and constructive".

    Republican Turkish Party leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, who has also called on Denktash to resign, said the messages coming from Turkey were not clear, but did show the necessity of the revision of Turkish policy on Cyprus. He expressed hope there would be a "good and real rectification of Turkish foreign policy for Cyprus" because Turkish Cypriots were not confident about their future.

    Talat announced that next Tuesday the Turkish Cypriots would stage another mass rally to promote a solution to the Cyprus problem and to give "an important and powerful signal to the world, to Turkey and to Denktash that they want a solution".

    Organised by 'This country is ours', an umbrella group of unions and other non-governmental bodies, next week's rally is expected to be even larger than the one held on December 26, when over 30,000 Turkish Cypriots took to the streets to demand Denktash's resignation and urge a solution.

    "Instead of gathering 40,000, let's make it 80,000 in support of a solution based on the Annan plan and the EU," an advertisement for the protest said. The population of the north only numbers 200,000 - more than half of whom are Turkish settlers.

    Meanwhile, Denktash who has just finished contacts with a delegation of Turkish Foreign Ministry officials, said yesterday: "If there are persons who want to sign it (the Annan plan) without making an amendment to the plan they can sign it.

    "I ask those who force me to sign the plan on February 28: can they sign the plan without getting rights? We are playing with the destiny of a nation. We can't take up the issue from short-term prosperity ideas, we must think about it well."

    He repeated that Turkish Cypriots who were in favour of signing the plan were putting themselves in danger. "We must think about the difficulties, not only today, but tomorrow, the cost of the freedom and how 200,000 Turks can live within 700,000 Greek Cypriots?"

    Denktash said Greek Cypriots didn't have any other target than Enosis and that the EU's acceptance of Cyprus ended the possibility of signing a new partnership agreement.

    "Greek Cypriots won't make an agreement with us as long as they have the title of 'Republic of Cyprus'. They don't feel the need to reach agreement with us, when they were also gifted EU membership," he said.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader also called for a moratorium on any signed agreement until Turkey joined the EU. The EU said in Copenhagen that it would only review the possibility of giving Turkey a starting date for accession negotiations in December 2004.

    "We need moratorium until the economy of the north becomes equal with the economy of the Greek Cypriots, and until equality is provided," he said. Denktash said his side was not against the EU, and was aware that people would benefit from the EU membership but that the Turkish Cypriot side wanted to enter the EU having equal rights with the Greek Cypriots, "not as a minority and a community whose sovereignty was not recognised".

    He said the UN plan did not give any response to the essential demands of the Turkish side for sovereignty, equality, status and guarantees. "I cannot know whether or not there will be any change. This is a weak possibility after so many facilities are being given to Greek Cypriots."

    "There won't be any Turkish-Greek Cypriot balance," he added. "Don't those who say that tourism will boom, see that the hotels will also be given to Greek Cypriots? How can they think that we will reach prosperity with this agreement?" he said.

    "The Cyprus issue is a matter of soul searching. It is a matter of calculating the price of the freedom struggle against the difficult times we are undergoing now."

    Talks on the UN plan are due to resume next week when UN envoy Alvaro de Soto returns to the island after holding contacts in Ankara and Athens.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [05] Believe what you will: rival opinion polls battle it out in the north

    By Jean Christou

    THE WAR of the opinion polls in the north continued yesterday, with one newspaper claiming majority support for Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and another claiming the majority now opposed the veteran leader.

    Denktash has come under increasing pressure in the north after he failed to sign a preliminary agreement on the Annan plan during the EU summit in Copenhagen in mid December.

    Since then, opposition has grown at an unprecedented rate with regular calls for him to resign as Turkish Cypriots take to the streets in protest and apply for Cyprus Republic passports.

    But pro-Denktash newspaper Volkan yesterday reported that according to its poll carried out on December 25, 70 per cent of the population in the north supported the Turkish Cypriot leader and that 66 per cent trusted him compared to 31.8 per cent that did not.

    Volkan claimed 79.8 per cent of Turkish Cypriots were against the Annan plan, compared to 69.5 per cent at the beginning of December. However, a day after Volkan carried out its poll, some 30,000 Turkish Cypriots attended a mass protest in occupied Nicosia. It was the biggest ever demonstration in the north.

    The more extensive poll run by Kibris newspaper and spanning three editions found that only 27 per cent believed Denktash was following the correct policy on the Cyprus issue, compared to 44 per cent who said he was following a 'wrong' policy and 26.8 per cent said his policy was only partly correct.

    Denktash's biggest detractors were from the 35-44 age group, with the majority of his supporters aged 55 and over.

    By district, the poll found that 51.9 per cent of those in the Morphou area thought Denktash's policies were wrong, while 75.3 per cent in that area would vote for the Annan plan.

    Kibris editor Suleyman Erguclu told the Cyprus Mail this was "interesting" because if a solution based on the Annan plan was agreed, Morphou would be returned to the Greek Cypriots, requiring the uprooting of those Turkish Cypriots. "It was the highest vote in five districts," Erguclu said. Volkan said that 87.5 per cent of people in Morphou did not approve of the Annan plan.

    Kibris said that 65.4 per cent approved of the revised Annan plan, including 54 per cent of illiterate Turkish Cypriots. Over 73 per cent of secondary school students supported the plan and 69.6 per cent of university students.

    "A clear majority of the people support the Annan plan, but they have concerns over three issues: The number of Greek Cypriots to return to the North, territory and property issues," Erguclu said.

    Over 80 per cent of all those polled liked the idea of a joint presidential system and 56.6 agreed with the amount of territory to be returned to the Greek Cypriots. Under the plan, the area held by the Turks would be reduced from 37 per cent to 28.5 per cent. Only 45 per cent were happy about Greek Cypriots living among them, but the figure was still higher than the 41 per cent opposed to the idea. Half of those polled believed an agreement could be reached by the new UN deadline of February 28, compared to 46 per cent who did not believe this was possible. Almost 75 per cent would prefer to see a solution prior to the island's entry to the EU compared to 21 per cent who would rather see the settlement of the Cyprus problem after Turkey's EU accession.

    Erguclu said the poll showed that although the falling support for Denktash was evident, he hadn't lost much ground. "Probably those who are extending partial support to him are Denktash supporters who do not approve his stance in the last two months," he said.

    Commenting on the polls, Denktash said the poll conducted from Turkey (Volkan) showed that 72 per cent of the population had confidence in him.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [06] Greece sees no problems for accession

    By George Psyllides

    THE GREEK ambassador yesterday said he did not expect any problems from the European Parliament concerning the ratification of the island's accession into the bloc.

    Speaking at a news conference where he presented the Greek EU Presidency's programme, Christos Panagopoulos pointed out that the European Parliament would examine all the cases - 10 countries - separately, adding however that Cyprus' prospects of joining the bloc has a big response, especially in the parliament, which was one of the enduring poles of support for the island's accession and reunification.

    "I do not expect any problems from the European Parliament, without this meaning that there should be relaxation.

    "All actions are carried out so that things would run smoothly," Panagopoulos said.

    He warned however that the EU enlargement could only go ahead with the agreement of the European Parliament and if there was an objection the procedure could be stalled.

    Concerning ratification by the individual parliaments of the country- members, Panagopoulos said they would have to ratify the enlargement as a package.

    The Greek ambassador said the Greek Presidency could be launching an initiative on the Cyprus problem with Foreign Minister George Papandreou visiting Ankara on January 31.

    Papandreou would be accompanied by EU enlargement commissioner Gunther Verhoigen and foreign and security representative Xavier Solana.

    Despite the discussion agenda not being set, it would include Turkey's European prospects and possibly the Cyprus problem, Panagopoulos said.

    The ambassador said that it went without saying that Greece would by all means support the necessity of the peace procedure and the UN initiative, which Athens believes should get underway as soon as possible.

    Panagopoulos did not rule out Papandreou visiting Cyprus after the presidential elections though a suitable date had to be found.

    The Greek diplomat said his country's priority during the presidency would be the enlargement and the signing of the accession treaty by the 10 countries under accession, and their active participation in the European Council.

    Two European Councils, five international summits, 39 regular ministerial councils, and numerous other meetings will be held by the Greek presidency during the first six months of the year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [07] Cyprus says no approach for hosting interviews of Iraqi scientists

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday said no deal had yet been struck for the questioning of Iraqi scientists in Cyprus by United Nations inspectors, despite reports that they would be taken out of Baghdad within the next few days.

    An article published in Time magazine yesterday quoted US officials as saying that the inspectors' work would be incomplete without interviewing Iraqi scientists outside the country away from threats and intimidation.

    According to Time, the officials said that the inspection team planed to begin that process within days, when they would begin inviting an undisclosed number of Iraqi scientists to leave Iraq and be interviewed in Cyprus.

    Two weeks ago, the government said it would not object to facilitating interviews of Iraqi scientists by the UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), which has a base in Larnaca, but stressed that it would not grant asylum to the scientists or their families.

    But speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Papapetrou said no deal had been struck with the UN.

    "When we receive a request from the UN to host the scientists within the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council resolution, we shall positively negotiate and debate the issue with them. But so far the UN has not asked the government for anything of the sort."

    Cyprus is the forwarding base for weapons inspectors who have set up camp at a hotel in Larnaca where a UN aircraft conducts weekly flights to Baghdad.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [08] Five-year plan to rejuvenate Nicosia

    By Alex Mita

    INTERIOR Minister Andreas Panayiotou said yesterday the government had approved a five-year plan for the rejuvenation of central Nicosia.

    Speaking at a news conference after a meeting on the issue, Panayiotou said the committee had also approved a request by Nicosia Municipality for the refurbishment of the Municipal Theatre, which in its present state has been classed as partially dangerous and will be closed by the end of March for a complete renovation.

    "The cost of renovating the Municipal Theatre has been estimated to be in the range of 930,000," Panayiotou said.

    "The Ministerial Committee has decided to inject 250,000 into the municipality's efforts."

    Panayiotou said the committee had also approved an amount of 30,000 for the completion of excavations by the Department of Antiquities at the old municipality site earmarked for the construction of the new Town Hall.

    "With the discovery of antiquities at the site of the old municipality, the Department of Antiquities has forbidden the construction of an underground parking area, and therefore the Ministerial Committee has approved the purchase of an adjacent plot of land that will be used as a parking area in the future," Panayiotou said.

    The Ministerial Committee also approved plans for the revamping of Eleftheria Square, estimated to cost 3.8 million, 80 per cent of which will be financed by the government and 20 per cent by the Nicosia Municipality.

    "The Eleftheria Square revamp is an important project for the capital," Panayiotou said.

    "A Ministerial Committee has recently approved an architectural competition for the improvement of Eleftheria Square as well as the construction of two parking areas in the old GSP stadium area, and the upgrade of Evagorou Street that will connect those parking areas with Eleftheria Square. The committee has decided to finance 80 per cent of the project."

    Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zambellas told reporters yesterday he was delighted with the Ministerial Committee's decisions.

    "Nicosia and especially the city within the walls is facing serious problems that have to be dealt with," Zampellas said.

    "People must return to the city within the walls and more importantly, Nicosia must be re-united. We are hopeful that this can happen soon and therefore we feel that all these works are necessary.

    "We will be entering the European Union in May 2004 and we don't have a proper square to mark the event. The government has given us a New Year's gift with their decision to finance the projects."

    Other projects approved by the Ministerial Committee include the amount of 1 million for the construction of a Social Centre at Ayios Dhometios estimated to cost 1.2 million and an extension of the Housing Plan to cover the Kaimakli area for the erection of new homes and the refurbishment of existing ones.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [09] Paphos rubbish collectors on strike

    By Sofia Kannas

    PAPHOS Municipality is on a 48-hour strike in protest against the failure of the government to ratify a collective agreement already signed by trade unions and the municipality.

    Themis Philipides, Secretary of Paphos Municipality, yesterday confirmed that the strike had begun from Thursday.

    "The municipality and the unions came to an agreement in 2000, the result of which was the re-implementation of the 1996 collective agreement. The latter provided for the upgrading of salaries and some changes to job titles.

    "But the Interior and Finance Ministries then refused to ratify this agreement.

    "According to existing legislation, only these two ministries have the power finally to ratify such agreements. It's a problem faced by many semi- government organisations.

    "Until now, we had refused to strike and tried to press ministers to change their stance through talks and negotiations. But the unions are at the end of their tether. They are tired of waiting."

    However, the effects of the current strike on Paphos town may not be too severe.

    "Industrial action has not been taken up by all municipality employees. We are talking about strike action by 85 municipality personnel, out of a total of around 245 workers at Paphos Municipality," Philipides said.

    "The main problem is that the personnel involved with waste disposal in Paphos are on strike. Abattoir staff are also engaged in industrial action.

    "So at the moment, the effects of the strike are not too widespread and our network in town is not seriously affected.

    "However, the situation could become more complicated if more municipality workers were to join in with the strike," he added.

    "We hope that further strikes will be avoided and a solution can be found as soon as possible."

    A private meeting between the Paphos Mayor Fidias Sarikas and Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou is scheduled for January 23.

    The current strike is due to come to end at 2.30 pm today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [10] 1,200 passports for Turkish Cypriots

    INTERIOR Minister Andreas Panayiotou said yesterday that 1,200 Cyprus passports had recently been issued to Turkish Cypriots.

    Panayiotou said that an increase in passport applications was anticipated by the Ministry after last month's EU summit in Copenhagen, which formally invited Cyprus to join the union in May 2004.

    "We are not talking about applications by the younger generation who were born after 1974 or even after 1963.

    "But even in these cases we keep a record of who their parents are, and in this way we can ascertain to what extent applicants are Turkish Cypriots or not.

    "Eligible Turkish Cypriots are also issued with various other documents such as identity cards and birth certificates.

    "As far as we are concerned, they are Cypriot citizens and will be treated as such," he added.

    Panayiotou dismissed suggestions that the wave of passports issued recently was indicative of a sudden increase in applications for passports by Turkish Cypriots.

    "It just so happened that a large number of applications were processed in a short space of time," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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