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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-14

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

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


Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Opposition in the north hopes for biggest ever protest against Denktash
  • [02] Omirou steps out of the race
  • [03] Polls suggest tight three-way race for the presidency
  • [04] Plenum set to approve civil service pay rise
  • [05] CyTA dispute settled but other strikes loom
  • [06] Pit Bull shot dead after running amok
  • [07] EAC satellite stake in doubt
  • [08] Six hurt in mass fight in Paphos
  • [09] Greens blast felling of trees outside Parliament

  • [01] Opposition in the north hopes for biggest ever protest against Denktash

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH CYPRIOT opposition groups are today staging what they hope to be the biggest rally in support of a solution of the Cyprus problem and against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, whom they blame for the current situation.

    The organisers of the rally expect it to be bigger that the December 26 demonstration in which 30,000 people took part demanding Denktash's immediate resignation.

    Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat has urged people to join the rally, while various other organisations have issued statements expressing their support for a solution based on the United Nations plan.

    The producers association of the village of Elia near occupied Morphou, yesterday lit a fire in the village square thus expressing the will of the Turkish Cypriots' will for a solution, a statement said.

    They said the fire would be kept alive until an agreement was struck on the Cyprus problem.

    Several trade unions have urged people to join today's rally to show their desire for a solution and their determination to end the current uncertainty over their futures.

    The union of civil servants has also announced its members would strike from 10am until 1pm and urged workers and the public to join the protest.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris said yesterday that there was official pressure on public servants and schools not to participate in the rally.

    Kibris said obstacles were being raised in an effort to avert mass participation in the protest.

    The daily said that 80,000 people were expected to take part.

    On the other hand, nationalist groups in the north are calling on the authorities to take measures to prevent the rallies, saying such demonstrations divided the people.

    Meanwhile reports in the Turkish Cypriot media said someone had slashed the tyres of the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers' Trade Union Ahmet Barcin.

    Barcin said the attack against him had been carried out by people who opposed peace.

    "They cannot terrorise either us or the people," he added.

    At the same time a bomb exploded in occupied Nicosia yesterday, according to the official Bayrak radio.

    The device had been placed in the parking lot next to the `finance ministry' and the office of the `deputy prime minister and minister of economic affairs', Bayrak said.

    No one has been detained in connection with either incident.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [02] Omirou steps out of the race

    By Jean Christou

    KISOS leader Yiannakis Omirou last night stepped down from the presidential race saying the party's political bureau had decided to support the candidacy of DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos in the February 16 elections.

    Omirou was unceremoniously dumped as candidate for ruling DISY on Saturday after President Glafcos Clerides announced that he would be seeking a third 16-month term in view of expected developments in the Cyprus problem.

    Matters were further complicated when Attorney-general Alecos Markides, a senior member of DISY and Clerides' right-hand man in the Cyprus negotiations, also announced he would be running in the elections as an independent.

    Following a meeting of KISOS' central committee last night, Omirou told reporters that a final decision on supporting Papadopoulos would be taken at an extraordinary party congress tomorrow. The DIKO leader also has the backing of communist AKEL.

    "The DISY leadership has played an opportunistic game, mocking the Cypriot people and the party's own followers," Omirou said after last night's meeting.

    "Non-existent dilemmas threaten to split rather than unite the people, and the twin candidacies of Clerides and Markides and all the madness that the competition between them has uncovered violently offends our political culture. A society than in one year will become part of the larger EU family has no need of saviours or irreplaceables."

    Referring to the strong possibility of KISOS giving its backing to Papadopoulos, Omirou said that a small party "going it alone" in the elections was not the wisest political choice and that in view of developments the party would decide if it would co-operate with the other opposition parties. An opinion poll at the weekend gave Omirou no more than four per cent of electoral support, with only 52 per cent of the party's own supporters backing their candidate and the others evenly split between Clerides/Markides and Papadopoulos.

    KISOS had originally been part of a three-party opposition coalition with AKEL and DIKO, before being lured away by DISY's proposal to support Omirou.

    Last night, Omirou said differences between which arose with AKEL and DIKO last summer, "should be left in the past".

    Earlier yesterday, AKEL and DIKO had issued a joint appeal urging KISOS to join with the "forces of the opposition", adding that what the three parties had in common was the desire to modernise and reform the country.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [03] Polls suggest tight three-way race for the presidency

    By a Staff Reporter

    OPINION POLLS published over the weekend have suggested a tight race in the February 16 presidential elections, with the right-wing vote splitting between Glafcos Clerides and Alecos Markides in the first round, but inching ahead of opposition candidate Tassos Papadopoulos in the runoff.

    The polls are the first since the election scene was turned on its head last weekend as first President Glafcos Clerides, then Attorney-general Alecos Markides announced they would contest the elections - Clerides seeking a restricted 16-month mandate citing developments in the Cyprus problem.

    Three opinion polls published over the weekend reflected the public's stance toward the latest developments. All three surveys gave Papadopoulos the lead in the first round of voting, but second place was heavily contested by Clerides and Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    SRI Ltd's poll, published in Sunday's Politis, gave Papadopoulos 36 per cent, Clerides 27 per cent and Markides 14 per cent; there followed Omirou with four per cent and New Horizons chairman Nicos Koutsou with three per cent. Respondents were then asked who they would vote for if Papadopoulos and Clerides progressed to the second round; in this case, Clerides came first with 43 per cent and Papadopoulos 42 per cent. In the second scenario -- Markides vs Papadopoulos in round two --the candidates tied at 41 per cent.

    The second survey, compiled by a Greek company, gave Papadopoulos a slimmer first-round lead: 32.9 per cent to Clerides' 30.3 per cent.

    Very different results turned up in the third poll, carried out by Markides' team. Here the DIKO boss received 37.5 per cent, Markides followed with 28.9 per cent and Clerides finished in third place with 21.6 per cent. The same poll indicated Markides would win the elections if he and Papadopoulos progressed to the second round.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [04] Plenum set to approve civil service pay rise

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE plenum is on Thursday expected to review a House Finance Committee bill increasing civil servants' salaries and pensions. The increase is expected to cost the government 50 million.

    Following yesterday's House Committee meeting, deputies agreed to ask the plenum to approve plans to increase Public Administration Committee (EDY) and Public Education Service (EDEY) employees' salaries and pensions at its next meeting on Thursday. The increases apply to the period January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2003.

    The same increases were given to employees in semi-governmental sectors after lengthy negotiations between civil servants union PASYDY and the Ministerial Joint Personnel Committee, said senior EDY official, Andreas Mylonas.

    The decision to increase civil service salaries and pensions was reached at the beginning of December last year and approved by the Cabinet on December 18, he said. The total cost was estimated at around 50 million for the year.

    The increase will include two per cent for the year 2001 - a minimum increase of 45 - two per cent for the year 2002, with a minimum annual increase of 62, and 2.75 per cent increase this year, a minimum 64 per annum. Similar increases could be expected for temporary staff and contract employees in the public sector, he said.

    Mylonas said the provision had not been included in the state budget for 2003 and that the increases were based on an increase in productivity in recent years. But AKEL deputy Stavros Evagorou disagreed and asked for analytical charts displaying productivity levels over the last decade, concerned the deficit to the state budget could amount to over five per cent.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [05] CyTA dispute settled but other strikes loom

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    EMPLOYEES of telecommunications authority CyTA went on strike for two hours yesterday, despite an agreement being reached between management and unions half an hour into the strike.

    Unions called the strike to object against a new incentive scheme, implemented last year, which pays bonuses to people who have done well throughout the year.

    Under the new Personnel Performance and Remuneration Management System, managers at all levels recommend employees for bonuses at the end of each year, to act as an incentive to productive employees. Letters were sent out notifying workers that they had either been nominated for a bonus or not, and one third of employees had not. Unions protested against the scheme's methods and called a strike, demanding a withdrawal of all letters and across the board negotiation of the system.

    According to reports, the unions were aware of the scheme when it was in the making, but protested because they weren't informed of the final form of the scheme before it was implemented.

    CyTA spokesman Paris Menelaou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the two sides had reached an agreement half an hour into the strike, making it too late to call off. CyTA offices were closed for two hours without the network being affected.

    Negotiations concluded that CyTA will suspend implementation of the scheme, that is, put on hold all bonuses, until management has another round of consultation with unions to amend the scheme accordingly.

    "This motivational scheme is quite uncommon in Cyprus and quite advanced," said Menelaou, referring to semi-governmental and governmental organisations. "We are leading in this field in Cyprus. Other industrial organisations have already come up to us to enquire about the incentive- based system," he added. Menelaou was confident that the new round of talks would lead to an understanding whereby the scheme could be re-implemented.

    Meanwhile, the island will face industrial action from various sectors during the week as Paphos municipality employees and port workers prepare to strike while management at Cyprus Airways experiences further agitation within the ranks.

    After last week's 48-hour strike in protest against the failure of government to ratify a collective agreement already signed by trade unions and the municipality, Paphos municipality's 245 employees are ready to renew industrial action on Thursday.

    Yiannakis Yiannakou, General Secretary of SEK in Cyprus, said yesterday that this time the strike would involve all municipality employees and would go on indefinitely until the government was ready to implement the deal signed. The Ministers of Finance and Interior are expected to meet today to discuss the situation.

    Meanwhile port workers in Limassol and Larnaca are joining their brothers in Europe in a pan-European 24-hour port strike on January 17. All loading and unloading of cargo will be halted from 7.30am on Friday morning until the next day as port workers throughout Europe respond to calls by the European Trade Union Movement for industrial action. The strike hopes to put pressure on the European Parliament to consider union demands for amendments to the Free Access to Port Services Directive which will be voted on this coming April.

    Regarding service with a smile, Cyprus Airways (CY) cabin crew union, CYNIKA, met today with CY management to discuss a date for negotiations on renewing their collective agreements, which expired at the end of last year. CY spokesman Tassos Angelis told the Cyprus Mail that the union suggested talks begin on January 20 and are now awaiting management's reply. Meanwhile, other CA unions have also made various requests, which are being looked into, Angelis said, adding that no industrial action has been decided on.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [06] Pit Bull shot dead after running amok

    By Tania Khadder

    A POLICE officer in Aglandja on Sunday shot dead a Pit Bull Terrier that had run amok in the neighbourhood.

    Police spokesman Christos Katsikides said the dog had escaped from his owner's house and run into a neighbour's yard, where he proceeded to attack their Colley. The neighbour, Michalakis Lazarou, and his 16 year-old son intervened in an attempt to protect their dog, but the Pit Bull turned to attack them. The two men called the police, and when the officer who arrived on the scene was also attacked, he shot the dog dead with his service pistol, Katsikides said.

    Neither of the three men involved, nor the Colley, was injured during the incident, which came three months after Parliament banned the import or breeding of dangerous dogs, including Pit Bulls. The five banned breeds are the Dogo Argentino, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull, Japanesse Tossa, and Fila Brazileiro.

    The new law also contends that any such dog breeds already on the island must remain securely locked up. When in public places, they must always be on a leash and wearing a muzzle, and can never be left unattended.

    The Pit Bull in question was legally registered in Cyprus, and Sunday's incident was the dog's first known attack. The dog's owner, who was not available for comment, will face consequences.

    "He did not take the necessary precautions to prevent his dog from going into another public or private place and putting others in danger," Katsikides said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [07] EAC satellite stake in doubt

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE INVOLVEMENT of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) in the joint Cypriot and Greek venture, Hellas Sat, to launch a telecommunications satellite which will broadcast the 2004 Athens Olympics, is hanging in the balance, according to reports yesterday.

    Politis reported the Hellas Sat consortium had already found alternative sources that were willing to finance the estimated $250 million cost of the ambitious project, making the chances of the EAC's $19 million involvement look increasingly slim, as Hellas Sat awaits Cabinet and Parliamentary approval this week.

    The satellite is due for launch on March 11 and will provide television and telecommunication services for the 2004 Athens Olympics while covering Greece, Cyprus, and another 25 countries in the Balkans, central Europe and the Middle East. The main participants in the consortium are: local company Avacom Net, the Cyprus Development Bank, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), the Hellenic Aerospace Industry and Canada's Telesat. OTE has already committed itself to renting eight transmitters from Hellas Sat for 15 years at a price of $10 million a year, said the paper.

    According to the report, the Cabinet are meeting tomorrow to discuss the EAC's stake in the project, while a $19 million supplementary budget will be put before parliament the following day in its last meeting before it breaks up for the election period. Politis's quoted Hellas Sat representatives as saying it was up to the political leadership now to make headway, denying they were responsible for delays in reaching an agreement. Another telecommunications company based in Luxembourg has already shown an interest in buying a stake in the consortium, putting pressure on the Cypriot side to act swiftly for EAC involvement.

    EAC spokesman Costas Gavrielides told the Cyprus Mail that things were not clear yet from their viewpoint. They still needed certain financial details from the company before the relevant authorities, Commerce Ministry, Cabinet and Parliament, could decide.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [08] Six hurt in mass fight in Paphos

    By a Staff Reporter

    A VERBAL altercation outside a Paphos pub escalated into a full-blown riot in the early morning hours on Sunday, with six persons injured.

    According to police, an argument between Pontian Greeks and locals outside a pub in Kato Paphos turned serious and was carried over to a second bar in a different area. By then, around 50 people were involved in the brawl. In addition to their fists, the brawlers used stones, sticks and some even drew knives.

    Six persons were injured and were taken to Paphos hospital for treatment. The most serious case was that of a 19-year-old National Guardsman, who had to undergo surgery. Tensions had not been defused by then, as a crowd gathered outside the hospital's emergency ward intent on beating up those being treated. Two police officers who tried to break up the angry crowd were also hit. Hospital staff also said they had been warned by the crowd not to treat the Pontians admitted.

    Police brought in several persons for questioning, later placing four locals under arrest. Paphos CID are investigating the case.

    Police sources said this was the largest fight between locals and Pontians to date, but added that the incident was probably due to a misunderstanding rather than an ongoing vendetta.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [09] Greens blast felling of trees outside Parliament

    By Alexia Saoulli

    ENVIRONMENTALISTS yesterday blasted the House of Representatives for allowing trees outside its premises to be cut down in an act they claimed was an illegal affront of justice.

    But Nicosia mayor Michalakis Zampelas said yesterday the Municipality, in collaboration with the Forestry Department, had given permission for the felling and that new trees would be replanted in their place.

    Nevertheless, the Green Party branded the "surprise operation that resulted in cutting down trees that had decorated the House's front building for decades" an "environmental crime" and pointed the finger primarily at the architect responsible for the House refurbishment project and the House's management. The party also charged the country's political leadership, parties and House President Demetris Christofias for failing to put the brakes on the act once it had begun.

    According to reports, the tree felling initially took place in stages, despite environmentalists' opposition. At first, two trees were cut down to facilitate construction work on the building site and then a further three were felled in order to help make room for a crane's operation. Then "in the dead of the night," just before dawn on Sunday, the remaining trees were cut down, said Green Party deputy, George Perdikis.

    "We are very angry and have personally complained to the House President," he told the Cyprus Mail. "However, we cannot take legal action against those responsible, because that is Nicosia Municipality's responsibility."

    And although the House had promised it would be replanting "larger" trees to replace the ones' felled, the environmentalists were far from satisfied, he added.

    "They have broken the law and are sending a negative message to all citizens that it is OK to act without permission. They are basically saying trees are not important and destroying them will go unpunished," said Perdikis.

    However, no crime has been committed, said Zampelas.

    "The Nicosia Municipality and the Forestry Department carried out a study assessing the area and decided that the felling could go ahead," he said. Therefore the architect had acted with the relevant authorities complete backing, irrespective of what environmentalists were claiming. "The architect received our approval. Besides, the trees are going to be replaced since there are plans to replant new ones, positioning them more appropriately. Everything was completely legal," said Zampelas.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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