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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-15

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

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


Wednesday, January 15, 2003

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Papapetrou: don't expect big changes to the plan
  • [02] It's time for change: young an old join hands in occupied Nicosia
  • [03] Parliament freezes budget on Curium café
  • [04] New breeding ground for Cypriot innovation
  • [05] Supreme court quashes indecent assault conviction
  • [06] Omirou slams DISY for `clinging on to power'
  • [07] Mayor's car stolen
  • [08] Ayia Napa listed in top ten `notspots'
  • [09] Iranian company in talks for refinery upgrade

  • [01] Papapetrou: don't expect big changes to the plan

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT agrees with UN envoy Alvaro de Soto that any changes to Secretary-general Kofi Annan's solution plan cannot be extensive, spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday.

    "I agree that amendments to the UN plan cannot be of an extensive nature, they cannot question the overall philosophy of the plan, nor can they put into question the backbone of this proposal. No side will accept unilateral changes at its expense," Papapetrou said.

    On his return to the island on Monday, De Soto said there was little room for drastic changes to the plan and that any further changes would only be possible if the overall balance in the plan was preserved. This would necessitate both leaders being "specific, measured and focused" regarding the changes they wished to make, and "to be prepared to give in order to take".

    Pointing to the February 28 deadline for an agreement, De Soto said the timeframe was tight. Direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash resume today.

    Papapetrou said that after the initial meeting between the two leaders, De Soto would host a lunch. No advisers would be present at the meeting.

    Papapetrou said efforts would resume at an increased pace. "Not only are we to expect developments but we are in the middle of developments," he said.

    Commenting on De Soto's remarks that the choice was between Annan's plan and no agreement at all, Papapetrou said that if this attempt failed, it would take a long time for new efforts to materialise.

    "I believe the situation is likely to be worse for Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot side in the sense that time consolidates the faits accomplis and creates new faits accomplis," Papapetrou said.

    He warned that if there was no settlement now, more Turkish Cypriots would emigrate from the north and that more Turkish settlers would be brought in.

    Denktash was yesterday quoted as saying the February 28 deadline was not the last chance to find a solution. According to Kibris, Denktash said his side would continue to negotiate until February 28 in order to try and change the aspects they considered negative. "Let the Greek Cypriots take an advantage after February 28. They cannot take the TRNC. If we back our state, the EU will come an bargain with us because it wants the whole of Cyprus," Denktash said. "All we need is to be patient and determined."

    In Ankara US envoy Thomas Weston said efforts should be stepped up because time was short. "My hope is to encourage the sides to reach a deal. I hope my optimism for a solution on the island will turn to reality," said Weston, who is scheduled to leave Turkey on Wednesday to visit Greece and then Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] It's time for change: young an old join hands in occupied Nicosia

    By Tania Khadder

    "NO ONE can stop peace in Cyprus," cried a voice through loudspeakers, followed by the even louder and more zealous cheers a crowd estimated between 35,000 and 40,000. Three generations stood together to deliver an important message with one clear voice: it's time for change.

    Yesterday's demonstration in occupied Nicosia, which was organised by a group called "This Country Is Ours," was a lively and emotional one, filled with symbols of peace and a genuine feeling of optimism. Demonstrators held banners saying "Give peace a chance" and "We want to be prisoners no longer."

    People danced and sang to live rock music. The European Union symbol, which was printed on thousands of small flags, danced enthusiastically with them.

    Security was present but appeared discreet enough to make for a less threatening atmosphere.

    On an island bitterly divided for the past three decades, the momentum of the recent peace movement offered new hope. Many of the protesters saw the demonstration as a turning point, moving them closer to settlement than ever before. "We have never seen crowds like this in Cyprus," said Mehmet, a man in his thirties who did not want to be further identified.

    Schools closed for the day, workers went on a general strike and people were bussed in from most of the towns to participate in the protest.

    Mehmet emphasised this was a movement supported by most Turkish Cypriots, and made no distinction between generations. "This is what everyone wants, young and old," he told the Cyprus Mail. When asked what he believed was getting in the way of a solution, he was categorical: "Denktash must go. He is stopping any type of forward movement."

    Many others echoed this sentiment, chanting slogans that called for Denktash's resignation. While some were more reluctant to call openly for resignation, everyone stressed the importance of accepting Kofi Annan's peace plan and of not being left behind as Cyprus enters the European Union.

    "The UN plan is a good base worth negotiating," said one activist, and mother of three who did not want to be named. "I'm here to raise my voice so that Denktash can hear me. He owes it to his community to bring peace to this country."

    She went on to explain that while Cypriots from both sides of the island wanted peace, there was a power struggle preventing any kind of progress. "Cyprus is small enough to fight over and large enough to find a way to share it."

    Clusters of young protesters made their way through an otherwise diverse crowd, holding signs like "My Generation Wants Peace." Many were adorned with olive wreaths or face painted peace signs, along with the odd Che Guevara T-shirt.

    "It's ridiculous that there are barriers between us," said Baariye Kemal, a 20-year-old student at the East Mediterranean University. Kemal and her friends have been actively working to encourage dialogue between the two sides. They meet with young Greek Cypriots once a month to discuss options for peace. "It's time for change, even if it's a risky one."

    While the enthusiasm and sheer number of demonstrators is enough to make most people optimistic for change, there is still much work to be done. Even if both parties were to accept the plan by the February 28 deadline, the struggle to live peacefully together will continue.

    "We are concerned that people don't realise what it will mean to unify the island," said a young American woman at the protest. The woman, who did not want to be named, was part of a workshop to study the Cyprus problem with an American school for international conflict resolution. "Most of the work will be done after they agree to make peace."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] Parliament freezes budget on Curium café

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    PARLIAMENT has unanimously agreed to freeze this year's budget for construction work at the ancient Curium amphitheatre.

    The Antiquities Department is currently erecting shelters to protect mosaics in the area and has plans to build a large canteen, site museum and car park to cater for thousands of tourists that visit the site each year. But with this year's budget on hold, contractors working on the site will soon have to stop when the money runs out.

    Green Party deputy George Perdikis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that construction at the site was destructive to the archaeological remains, putting their existence in great danger. "You cannot have a restaurant at an antiquities site. There needs to be a place for visitors and tourists to go, but not right next to the site," he said.

    The Green deputy said he had seen the Master Plan for development of a visitors' centre at the Curium site and objected to the suggested location of the car park and café.

    "It's not a café anyway that they intent to build, it's a restaurant," said Perdikis.

    "It's not even our job to do this, but we (the Greens) went there anyway and suggested alternative, more appropriate locations for the parking site and main building."

    The Greens have already staged two demonstrations against plans to build near the ancient amphitheatre and are planning a third, larger demonstration in the near future. "We hope that the Antiquities Department will come and discuss with parliament, archaeologists and environmentalists a way to find a solution and subsequently release the budget," said Perdikis.

    But the Head of the Antiquities Department, Sophoclis Hadjisavvas, said that despite the unanimous decision in parliament, very few deputies were actually aware of what was going on at the Curium site. "There are many objections to building a visitors' centre there, but most concern the location of the centre, which is changeable," he said. "We prefer not to build on antiquities at all, but there is a strong demand for tourist facilities at the site. We need to find a compromise where we can put new toilets, a car park and visitors centre to accommodate the 350,000 visitors that come each year," he said. The main building will contain a café, not a restaurant, insisted Hadjisavvas, and a site museum with various products also on sale.

    Regarding construction at the site, workers have drilled 12-metre deep holes to prepare for the erection of protective shelters for the mosaics. Hadjisavvas maintains, contrary to reports, that the mosaics have not been affected by the drilling. "Where there was a danger to the mosaics we either placed blocks instead of drilling holes or left the area as it was. Many shelters were cancelled as a result."

    The department head admits that some damage is foreseeable, however: "Whatever happens on an antique site will affect it in some way. Not damage, but certainly some floors might be affected. But we have to put the holes somewhere," he said.

    Referring to recent media reports, Hadjisavvas said, "People say there should be no development on the site and then ask where the toilets are or why tourists have to walk far to get to the site because there's no parking."

    But he maintains that the site will be more aesthetically pleasing once locations for development have been decided on and construction completed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [04] New breeding ground for Cypriot innovation

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    COMMERCE Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday the time had finally come to raise the level of research and development in Cyprus to a satisfactory level with the opening of the first private high-technology business "incubator".

    The opening of the Promitheas Business Innovation Centre is the fruition of a five-year plan to lift Cyprus's image as one of the lowest GDP contributors to research and development.

    "I went to Israel five years ago and saw the wonder of high-technology, which depended a lot on Russian scientists moving to Israel. I realised that Cyprus was missing this greatly. Now, people who want to develop and promote a new technological idea have the opportunity to do so in the right environment and with up to £120,000 worth of government sponsorship," said Rolandis.

    The minister made reference to the hundreds of Cypriots working for multinationals and governments abroad, who now have the set-up available to them and incentive to return home to promote technology and develop their knowledge in Cyprus. He said one should not underestimate the importance of technology, research and development in today's society.

    He thanked Promitheas' general manager, Dr Yiannis Fesas, for working towards creating the first incubator in Cyprus and added that four more high-tech business incubators had been approved by the ministry and would start up shortly. Rolandis highlighted international statistics that showed that only one in four incubators succeeded. "But that one success makes a huge difference to a country, opening up new areas and making venture capital available for new ideas," he said.

    Promitheas is able to put people with ideas in touch with industrialists, bankers, lawyers, accountants, government planners and venture capitalists, while offering active relationship with universities, research centres and individuals from abroad. It offers incubator services to entrepreneurs and newly established enterprises, as well as existing companies, large or small, who wish to develop activities relating to the implementation of innovative technologies.

    Rolandis announced that co-operation agreements and protocols on high- technology have already been signed with the Greek and Indian governments, the University of New York in Albany, and is in contact with the Russian government and the University of Southern California for the signing of further agreements.

    Fesas told reporters that this opened a new chapter for industrial relations in Cyprus and a new form of competition. "Cyprus will become a two-way road of knowledge and technology. in a spirit of co-operation. We want to push the boundaries of knowledge in Cyprus to meet modern demands," he said. Fesas advocated the creation of more research centres through private sector initiative but with the help of government support.

    The centres will provide a package of services to meet the needs of young, and emerging technology-based companies. Apart from access to local and international consultancies and government funding, tenants will also be offered additional funding from the centre itself. In return for their services, the centre owns a percentage of the company in incubation, depending on each individual case, ranging anywhere from zero to 49 per cent. Each incubator is expected to become self-sufficient after four years through holding minority shares, otherwise, they are likely to collapse.

    Savas Savvides, from Webium Incubator, which opens next month, said: "The idea of the incubator is to assist scientists with innovative ideas to commercialise those ideas. Personally, I see my role more as the coach because you are motivating and keeping tenants on track while providing the resources that a small business needs in one place. At the same time as developing the project you get to develop strategic relationships around the world," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [05] Supreme court quashes indecent assault conviction

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE SUPREME Court yesterday unanimously overturned musician and composer Doros Georgiades' conviction of indecent assault against five under aged girls last year.

    Georgiades, father of two, had been found guilty on five counts of indecent assault on January 7 last year. The offences were alleged to have been committed between 1988 and 1998 at his recording studio in Nicosia.

    The court had rejected defence claims that their client's right to a fair trial had been violated by media publicity.

    But yesterday, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction, said Georgiades' lawyer, Evangelos Pourgourides.

    "One of the many reasons my client was acquitted was the abuse he suffered at the hands of the mass media, which influenced his right to a fair trial through various publications," he said. Pourgourides said the 53-year-old planned to file lawsuits against those media outlets that had treated him unfairly, and called for his name to be cleared.

    Georgiades was arrested in August 2001 after the grandfather of one of the girls told a television reporter about the case before committing suicide. Following a closed doors trial last year, he was sentenced to two and a half years in jail on January 9. He was acquitted on a sixth count after the court deemed the testimony unreliable.

    The musician always maintained he was innocent and claimed the charges were a conspiracy to destroy him.

    In July last year, 66-year-old George Serdaris was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment in connection with the same case. He is still in jail.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [06] Omirou slams DISY for `clinging on to power'

    By George Psyllides

    KISOS leader Yiannakis Omirou yesterday accused DISY of trying to remain in power despite the lack of any crucial developments concerning the Cyprus problem.

    On Monday night, Omirou bowed out of the presidential race following DISY's decision to back President Glafcos Clerides instead of him.

    KISOS is now expected to return to the three-party opposition coalition with AKEL and DIKO to elect DIKO chief Tassos Papadopoulos. KISOS had been in the coalition until it was lured away by DISY's proposal last year to support Omirou.

    A final decision will be taken at KISOS' extraordinary party congress today.

    DISY has justified its decision to support Clerides for a limited 16-month mandate by citing imminent developments in the Cyprus problem.

    Yesterday, Omirou said he did not think there were such developments justifying a transitional arrangement for the presidency.

    Matters have been further complicated by the decision of Attorney-general Alecos Markides, a senior DISY member and Clerides' right-hand man in the Cyprus problem negotiations, also to contest the elections as an independent.

    Markides' move made it clear to Omirou that he would be the last choice for DISY voters.

    Omirou said the political scene has changed completely since the time when DISY had been prepared to back him.

    "I do not think we must insist on our decision (to run) but should look at the greater picture," Omirou said.

    He added that through a potential co-operation with the opposition two parties, KISOS could put forward as many of its views as possible.

    "The goal is to find ways for opposition forces to achieve the maximum possible result," Omirou said.

    Papadopoulos yesterday applauded KISOS' decision to suggest to the party's congress to support him in the elections.

    "From the beginning we had the view that all opposition forces should have co-operated to bring about change," Papadopoulos said.

    "Since everybody has expressed the wish to bring change in the internal administration, I think KISOS' place was with us and I am happy they chose to come back."

    Papadopoulos said DISY's behaviour was typical of the way it had treated other parties with which it had co-operated in the past.

    "At the end, they show ingratitude and abandon them," Papadopoulos said.

    "What matters is that while their language speaks of unity, their actions cause division in their own ranks and reinforce the unity of the forces of change," the DIKO chief added.

    AKEL leader Demetris Chritstofias warned victory would not be easy, even after KISOS' change of heart.

    "The battle should be fought with the same consistency and tenacity that was necessary yesterday," Christofias said.

    Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday Clerides was ready to assume the cost of signing a solution so others would be spared.

    He added a high political cost would be assumed by the person who signed the solution, and Clerides would refuse to take that on.

    Papapetrou noted many others would refuse to pay the price.

    "Anyone after Clerides could say `this is the solution I inherited, I would have to move within this framework'.

    "So the cost is assume by Glafcos Clerides so that others can be spared," Papapetrou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [07] Mayor's car stolen

    By a Staff Reporter

    A MUNICIPALITY vehicle used by the Mayor of Limassol's Mesa Yitonia was stolen on Friday night, police confirmed yesterday.

    The green Peugeot saloon, worth £8,000, was parked at a petrol station on Archbishop Makarios street when it was stolen.

    Mayor Christos Mesis was taking part in a local television show at the time of the theft and returned to find the car with registration number EZX 789 gone.

    He reported the theft of the car to Limassol police immediately.

    "It wasn't an expensive car," said the Mayor yesterday.

    "But I don't think the car will be found," he added.

    Asked if the incident was indicative of a growing problem of crime in the Limassol area, Mesis said "no I don't think so".

    "There is not much crime in Mesa Yitonia. It's primarily a residential area with few instances of this sort of crime. The only problems we had were some drug incidents involving young people but we stepped up patrols to regulate this. The problem is now under control," he added.

    Limassol Police confirmed yesterday that the vehicle had not been found and that no arrests had been made with regard to the theft.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [08] Ayia Napa listed in top ten `notspots'

    By Jean Christou

    AYIA Napa has been listed by British magazine Holiday Which? as one of the top ten holiday `notspots' - places to avoid at all costs.

    According to the magazine survey, the `top ten' are classed as the "last resorts" synonymous with lager louts and sleaze.

    Ayia Napa, whose reputation as a family destination has hit rock bottom in the last three years thanks to an influx of clubbers, is listed as "If you love ear-crashing music and cheek-to-cheek acres of sizzling flesh on a not- so-pretty beach then this is your spot."

    The once-sleepy fishing village turned holiday paradise now ranks with such notorious resorts as Faliraki in Rhodes, Hurghada in Egypt, the Algarve's Quarteira, Kavos in Corfu, Malia in Crete, San Antonio in Ibiza, S'Arenal in Majorca, Tererife's Playa de las Americas and Gumbet in Turkey.

    Descriptions include: "Lager louts fighting on the beach, horrible high- rise hotels in concrete jungles and drunken teenagers turning up the disco music all night."

    "The list reflects a growing disenchantment with the sex, sun and sand resorts which grab all the attention - but often for the wrong reasons," said one British newspaper, which published an article on the survey.

    Holiday Which? said many unsuspecting holidaymakers were lured to the resorts with the promise of a cheap deal, only to discover the truth when they reached their destination. "The nightlife turns out to be a succession of `British' pubs and kebab shops with teenagers throwing up," the magazine said.

    However. for every "notspot" resort there is a genuine hotspot nearby, and in the case of Cyprus it's Paphos, the magazine said. It describes the western coastal town as: "A pleasant harbour with waterside cafes where you can still party the night away."

    Bob Tolliday from Holiday Which? wrote: "Many people do not realise that very close to a notspot is a hotspot where they could have a much better time."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [09] Iranian company in talks for refinery upgrade

    By Alex Mita

    WORK on upgrading the Petroleum Refinery in Larnaca to meet with EU regulations is expected to begin in February, aiming for completion a few months after the island joins the EU in May 2004.

    The General Manager of the Cyprus Petroleum Refinery Ltd (CPRL),

    George Lambrou, yesterday confirmed negotiations were under way with an Iranian company that would carry out the upgrades at an estimated cost of $40 million. The works would allow the production of unleaded petrol and sulphur free diesel. Super and regular petrol will only be produced in small quantities for antique cars.

    "An Iranian company was selected to carry out the works, but no contract has been signed yet," Lambrou said.

    "I can't reveal the exact cost of the works but it is well within what we estimated."

    According to Politis, the project is expected to be financed by foreign investors.

    Questions have been raised as to why $40 million is being spent to upgrade a refinery that will eventually be torn down in a commitment to Larnaca residents.

    A reliable source told the Sunday Mail last June that a British report, financed by the CPRL in 1993, had found that if the refinery was closed down, the taxpayer would have saved $5 million a year since then.

    Speaking at the time, Commerce and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis admitted the government and the taxpayer would have been better off had the refinery been put out of its misery a long time ago.

    "By and large, the decision is that it will pay us not to have a refinery," Rolandis said.

    The refinery has long been a thorn in the side of Larnaca residents.

    The decision to move it was taken after the Municipality declared war on the government, refusing to issue building permits to the CPRL for the construction of additional fuel storage tanks.

    Since the 1993 report, the CPRL has spent £8 million on a project to increase production, despite the fact that Cyprus' needs for finished petroleum products were already covered.

    Add to that the $40 million that will be used to upgrade the refinery, and the taxpayer is contributing more than $50 million for a refinery that will soon be shut down.

    Rolandis has insisted there is no other choice, saying Cyprus cannot import refined products from now because there is no storage capacity at Larnaca. He says the only feasible move is to upgrade the refinery to bring it into line with EU standards.

    "Then we will dismantle the refinery, even if the equipment will be only six or seven years old."

    A new tank farm will also be built at the energy centre at Vassiliko in the Larnaca district, to meet EU regulations, which call for a minimum of 90- day fuel storage facilities. The cost of the tank farm is estimated to amount to $300 million. The study on the tank farm is expected to begin in 2005.

    But an EU directive allows for some of the finished products to be stored in tank farms overseas, suggesting the refinery could have been closed down earlier and Cyprus could have been transporting the goods from abroad. The government argues the costs of transporting refined fuel products to Cyprus would be too high.

    When the tank farm is completed around 2008-9, the refinery will run for a further one or two years, as a precautionary measure. It will then be dismantled and the government will try and sell the upgraded parts abroad.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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