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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-16

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

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


Thursday, January 16, 2003

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Lead levels low among Nicosia children
  • [02] Former ambassador cleared
  • [03] Car scam police suspect transferred to airport duty after suspension expires
  • [04] Direct talks resume as Denktash dismisses `minority' protest
  • [05] Denktash: demonstrators don't know what they're talking about
  • [06] KISOS return to coalition
  • [07] Expats bolt up against the burglars
  • [08] `Papadopoulos is not the man for a solution'
  • [09] Bishops blast `satanic' Harry Potter

  • [01] Lead levels low among Nicosia children

    A STUDY released yesterday showed children in Nicosia had blood lead levels well below levels of concern because of good hygiene and living in a dust free environment.

    The study was carried out by Drs. Catherine Demoliou and Andreas Charalambous in co-operation with the Institute of Neurology and Genetics and Intercollege.

    The objectives of the study were to determine blood lead levels in children of pre-primary school age in Nicosia and to correlate those findings to home and school environment, children's behaviour and socio-economic characteristics.

    Children between the ages of two and six are more susceptible to lead exposure because of age-associated behaviour and activities. Children also absorb more lead than adults, affecting their cognitive development and behaviour.

    The study included 323 children from 16 different pre-primary schools in the Nicosia district. Capillary blood was collected from March to September last year from 300 children living and attending school in Nicosia and 23 living and attending school in a rural setting. Their parents were then interviewed and answered questions on their socio-economic background, the environment and the habits and health of their children.

    A summary of the results said: "The study indicated that children in Nicosia have low lead blood levels (average 1.7 g/dL) which is well below the level of concern of 10 g/dL as set by the Centre for Disease and Control Prevention in the USA. The low blood levels were positively correlated with data gathered in the questionnaire relating to good hygiene practices taught and practiced by parents and teachers and the effort to keep a dust free environment at home and at school."

    A full presentation in English of the research results is scheduled for next Tuesday in Intercollege's Millennium Building Conference Hall. A summary of the results will also be distributed in Greek.

    This research was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [02] Former ambassador cleared

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE ASSIZES court yesterday cleared a former Ambassador to Egypt of charges concerning theft of state property.

    The case involving Charalambos Kapsos was first investigated by the Foreign Ministry in August 1999, after it was alleged Kapsos had hosted a bouzouki night at his residence in Cairo to promote the island's political cause, complete with Romanian dancing girls and smuggled wine.

    The senior diplomat allegedly charged Cairo's high society $60-a-head for the so-called Cyprus experience, reportedly using his diplomatic status to smuggle 372 cases of KEO wine into Egypt, by-passing the 300 per cent import duty levied by Egyptian customs. It was even alleged the senior diplomat sought reimbursement from the government for the expense incurred entertaining his guests.

    The court yesterday declared there was insufficient evidence to charge Kapsos.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [03] Car scam police suspect transferred to airport duty after suspension expires

    By a STaff Reporter

    A SENIOR police officer currently awaiting trial in connection with a luxury car assembly scam last September has been transferred from the Police Academy to Larnaca airport, after his three-month suspension from the force expired, it was reported yesterday.

    Yiannakis Panayiotou was arrested in September when police investigating the scam found that two cars seized from Panayiotou's home had not been registered and that their chassis numbers had been removed from other vehicles.

    Deputy Attorney-general Petros Clerides said Panayiotou could not be kept on suspension after a period of five months, because police regulations did not allow it.

    Clerides said regulations did not even allow Panayiotou to be put on administrative leave, and added that officers could only be removed from the service if they were remanded in custody.

    "For the time being, Panayiotou is not expected to be placed in custody," he said.

    Panayiotou's trial is scheduled to take place in February and is expected to last for up to two months, due to the number of case files and witnesses that will have to be examined.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [04] Direct talks resume as Denktash dismisses `minority' protest

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday met for the first time in nearly four months to discuss UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's settlement plan.

    The meeting took place at the conference facility at the UN-controlled Nicosia Airport and was followed by a lunch hosted by UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto. No advisers were present at the meeting.

    The two leaders have only six weeks to come to an agreement on the revised plan and to make mutually acceptable changes, although the UN has warned there is not much room for more than some "refinements".

    Denktash said on Tuesday there was little hope of reaching an agreement by the February 28 deadline, necessary if a reunified Cyprus is to sign the EU accession treaty in mid-April.

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan said the UN was pressing ahead with the negotiations, saying the deadline was a "firm one". He also urged Denktash to listen to the Turkish Cypriot people, who came out in force on Tuesday to press for an agreement, calling on Denktash to resign. Up to 70,000 people, around 60 per cent of Turkish Cypriots and 35 per cent of the entire population of the north, took to the streets of occupied Nicosia.

    Denktash yesterday said those who demonstrated were a minority. "The truth is the number of people saying sign the Annan plan, whatever the cost, is very small," he said.

    He also criticised the Secretary-general in statements in an interview with CNN Turk later on Tuesday, accusing Annan of taking sides. "Without considering how many people said what, he called on us to heed the voice, saying that the Turkish Cypriots are on the right course," Denktash said. "In other words he is supporting this. He is taking sides. This cannot be reconciled with his good office mission. I cannot know how he did such a thing or who made him do such a thing," the Turkish Cypriot leader said.

    Denktash said Annan's plan contained "traps" for the Turkish Cypriots and that once these traps were understood "people will find the right path and act with good sense".

    However, speaking after yesterday's talks with Clerides, Denktash said: "We are going to continue the meetings with good intentions and we shall see what we can achieve."

    Commenting on Annan's remarks, Clerides said the Secretary-general seemed to believe that the chance for a solution still existed despite the time constraints. "This is something we will see once the negotiations begin. Today's meeting will be a private one to decide how we move on," Clerides said. "Talks will continue. Their outcome will depend on several international factors."

    The two leaders are due to meet again on Friday afternoon.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday welcomed Annan's statement and similar backing for Tuesday's demonstration from the US.

    Cassoulides said it was the first time there were such suggestions that Denktash should step down. He said that if Denktash "does not change his intransigent positions, then he will be removed."

    "If Denktash is not removed by the end of February, then it may be March or April. The Turkish side has to do its homework and take its decisions. Either Denktash's intransigence is lifted or he steps down," Cassoulides said.

    Turkish Cypriot press reported yesterday that security around Denktash's residence in occupied Nicosia had been changed. The report said Turkish Cypriot `police' guarding the house had been replaced in recent weeks by Turkish armed troops.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [05] Denktash: demonstrators don't know what they're talking about

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was "disappointed" at calls by thousands of Turkish Cypriots for him either to the Annan plan or resign.

    Speaking to Turkish Cypriot television late on Tuesday, just hours after up to 70,000 Turkish Cypriots took to the streets demanding he sign the Annan plan or quit, Denktash said the majority of people in the north were unaware of the sacrifices that would have to be made by signing the plan.

    "I am sure that 90-95 per cent of those taking part in the protests do not have any idea about the contents of the Annan plan," he said. "These things do not disappoint me. What does disappoint me is this: after examining the Annan plan, a number of individuals came to me and said that certain sections of the Annan plan should be revised and asked me to make every effort to have these sections revised. However, these individuals are not saying the same thing to the people. That is, these individuals are not saying to the people that there are a number of flaws in the Annan plan."

    Anatolia News Agency yesterday reported Denktash as saying Tuesday's demonstration only gave ammunition to the Greek Cypriot side in the bargaining process. "They will think Denktash is in trouble," he said. Criticising the demonstrators for not carrying `TRNC' flags, Denktash said: "The flag is the symbol of a state, lack of flags in the rally means that there is not a state".

    Visiting Turkish parliamentary speaker Bulent Arinc said yesterday before his departure that the Turkish Cypriots were in an important process of negotiation for their future and that Turkey supported Denktash in his efforts to reach a solution.

    "Two hundred thousand Turkish Cypriots can think that the EU is their last chance and that EU membership may put an end to all their difficulties. However, we should consolidate these ideas with concrete proposals by taking into consideration the fact that the negotiation process is carried out together with the Greek Cypriot side," he said.

    "It is impossible to consider the opinion of `whatever happens, we should join under their flag by making EU maps a flag' the essential factor in solution of the Cyprus issue. So we should be determined in the process we have recorded so far and we have to believe in our case. And we have to continue defending our case with the same confidence as we did in the past."

    He warned against developments that might cause polarisation in the north and called on Turkish Cypriots to remain united. "We can be tolerant of different views. But these views cause polarisation, which can be to the benefit of the Greek Cypriots," he said.

    He also blasted a group of demonstrators who unfurled a banner at Tuesday's demonstration calling Turkish troops "an army of occupation".

    "It is extremely regrettable. There are very few people here who have the audacity to consider the Turkish army as an army of occupation."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [06] KISOS return to coalition

    By a Staff Reporter

    SOCIALIST party KISOS last night unanimously backed DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos in the upcoming presidential elections.

    The move came after KISOS leader Yiannakis Omirou was unceremoniously dumped as ruling DISY's candidate last Saturday when President Glafcos Clerides announced he would be seeking a third term in view of expected developments in the Cyprus problem.

    The decision to back Papadopoulos was taken at the party's extraordinary congress at around 9pm last night despite some opposition from members who felt Omirou should not have stepped down from the presidential race.

    "Our alliance with the opposition within the new political scene is an act of bravery and democratic and social responsibility," Omirou said.

    Omirou accused DISY of attempting to "loot KISOS when the party took its decisions and presented the candidacies of Clerides and Markides.

    "The decision was not taken with any reservations. Under the circumstances we have to fortify the country's progressive path, and we have to put a stop to the conservative political party."

    The Congress, attended by about one thousand delegates, unanimously adopted the Political Bureau's proposal without any voting.

    Vice-President of the Movement Marinos Sizopoulos and Honorary President Vassos Lyssarides, who both supported the autonomous running for the presidency, suggested that there be no voting and that the proposal be approved unanimously.

    Addressing the Congress, Omirou said ruling DISY ''has not respected us''.

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

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [07] Expats bolt up against the burglars

    By Alexia Saoulli

    PAPHOS residents are barricading their homes in fear of suspected gangs of thieves responsible for a string of burglaries over recent months.

    Residents say that in a single day last week alone, there were 24 break-ins in which money, credit cards, passports and jewellery were stolen. No arrests have been made and police have no leads, a British resident of Paphos told the Cyprus Mail.

    "The police officer in charge of the case told me thieves seemed to direct their attention mostly towards foreigners' holiday homes," said Marion Clark, 50, whose apartment was broken into last Wednesday. Homes belonging to expatriates were often empty, and therefore easy targets, she said.

    Clark said police had admitted they were keen to avoid publicity as the area was a tourist hotspot that promoted its reputation for low crime.

    "I think it's pretty obvious why they don't (publicise the fact), especially since Paphos is the place where people are buying (holiday) flats," said Clark.

    Paphos police yesterday denied foreigners were the primary victims of the recent spate of break-ins.

    "I've worked in this department for three years and there have always been occasional break-ins. During some periods, there are more than others, but they affect foreigners and locals alike and are most certainly not particular to Paphos," said the officer, adding that reports of 24 break- ins in a single day were most likely a gross exaggeration. "This is just talk. Break-ins happen island-wide, but never as many as 24."

    Over the past three days, there have been 10 more burglaries, five in Paphos, two in Limassol and one each in Larnaca, Nicosia and Paralimni, police said yesterday. Nearly 8,000 in cash and personal items were stolen. Nine victims were Cypriot and one was Russian.

    One of the victims was DIKO deputy Nikos Pittokopitis from Paphos. Thieves entered his home through an open window on Monday night while the family slept. The assailants made off with the deputy's wallet containing 200 and his thirteenth salary cheque, as well as his wife's handbag containing 20. Pittokopitis neighbour's house was also burgled the same night. A police search on Tuesday discovered all stolen items except for the cash.

    Last week, Mesa Yitonia Mayor Christos Mesis' car was stolen while environmentalist Artemis Yiordamli's home was broken into. In total, culprits seized 10,000 from a string of store, home and car thefts.

    Clark and her partner Sam Felds blamed the lack of home security for the burglaries.

    "My apartment was broken into on Wednesday and another four were broken into on the same day," she said. Although she was not worried about her safety, she felt easy access to apartment blocks was the main reason thieves could get in.

    "I don't even have a key to lock the main downstairs door," she said. "Inevitably it's always left open and just anyone can walk in and wander around the corridors and do what they like." There was also free access to the roof and in the past intruders had tried to force their way in from there, she said.

    Compounding the problem were flimsy apartment doors, said Clark. "The doors are basically just windscreens that keep people from looking in. They are not fire proof or burglar proof and there are no proper locks on them."

    But one Paphos contractor said that if residents wanted to add deadbolts, security cameras and alarm systems to their premises, it was up to them.

    "I believe there is no crime problem in Cyprus. I don't know anyone who has special burglarproof doors here. This is not Athens or London, where they are needed," he said. "Where else in the world can you go to a supermarket where there are no security cameras, or you can walk into a bank and the teller counts money in front of you without bullet proof glass between you? What happens here are small isolated incidents.

    "There is no chance of them getting away. These are not organised gangs, but amateurs in twos and threes."

    Police told Clark and Felds they had no suspects at the moment. "They believe they might be foreigners who come to Paphos for the day and then leave," Clark said.

    "I'm not worried about my safety. It's not like Britain, but I will be taking precautions from now on and adding surveillance cameras to my apartment." And the developers she had bought the flat from said they would be changing the doors, she added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [08] `Papadopoulos is not the man for a solution'

    By George Psyllides

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday suggested DIKO chief and presidential candidate Tassos Papadopoulos was not suitable to lead the Cyprus problem to a solution.

    "If Clerides is not elected it would be Mr. Papadopoulos; I am not referring to any other candidates.

    "It is my conviction that Mr. Papadopoulos, due to his dedication to rejectionist positions, is not a suitable person, neither does he have the necessary trust from the Turkish Cypriots to lead to a solution through negotiation of the United Nations plan," Papapetrou said.

    The spokesman cited an a couple of years back when Papadopoulos said he would reject a similar plan outright.

    "And it is not my fault if the whole world, the international public opinion, which is an important player in solving the problem, does not consider Mr. Papadopoulos a politician ready to compromise," Papapetrou said.

    He added: "Even BBC online said he was a hardliner."

    Papapetrou was repeating comments he made earlier to Greek state television.

    In a statement issued later in the day, DIKO accused the government spokesman of crossing the line and effectively putting Papadopoulos on the list of the island's enemies.

    DIKO said Papapetrou's behaviour was "unethical and unacceptable" and called on the President to denounce the "pillorying and defamation" used by his spokesman to hurt other candidates.

    AKEL leader Demetris Christofias yesterday accused the government of lacking the arguments to support its policy.

    "Those who cite foreigners to support their propaganda and policy lack proper arguments," Christofias said.

    He said the people should know the government was trying to use dates in order to create developments so that they could keep Clerides in power.

    Christofias added that developments would not come about with the wishes or pressures of United Nations Secretary-general Kofi Annan but depended solely on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkey.

    He said no political leader would reject real negotiations: "We say yes, when we could say no for election reasons, but we are not saying this and it shows the responsible stance of the opposition and the party."

    On the DISY front, fractured by divisions over the party's decision to support President Glafcos Clerides for re-election, the party's deputy chairman Panayiotis Demetriou stressed that DISY would work for one candidate.

    Several DISY deputies have openly supported Attorney-general Alecos Markides despite the party's official decision to back Clerides.

    Demetriou said these deputies would not participate in the campaign but the party did not expect them directly or indirectly to oppose its line in a provocative manner.

    In a written statement, DISY stressed there was only one candidate for the party and that was President Clerides.

    The statement warned that no one could use their position in the party to promote other candidates and any actions by party members which went against DISY's decisions were their personal views and not the party's.

    Dissident DISY deputy Prodromos Prodromou insisted yesterday that only one candidate should remain, either Clerides or Markides.

    He noted, however, that if neither stepped out it was clear to him whom to support, adding there was no chance of openly going against Clerides.

    "But a good chunk of DISY is already embracing Markides," Prodromou added.

    Prodromou is one of eight DISY members who chose, with the agreement of DISY chief Nicos Anastassiades, not to participate in the Clerides campaign.

    Instead they will work for Markides and minutes after DISY's political bureau meeting, the `Eight' attended Markides' first election gathering.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [09] Bishops blast `satanic' Harry Potter

    By Sofia Kannas

    TWO BISHOPS yesterday branded the Harry Potter films "satanic" and voiced their view that the movies should be banned from Cypriot cinemas.

    Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos and Bishop Vassileos of Trimithounda were unanimous in their belief that both the Harry Potter films and books are psychologically harmful to children.

    "As a Church we don't think children should be exposed to images and words which will distance them from their religion and make satanic ideas acceptable in our society," Vassileos said.

    "We know adults may be able to distinguish between fantasy and reality but children cannot."

    Chrysostomos echoed this opinion and confirmed that the Holy Synod would take up the issue in the near future.

    "I doubt anything will come of our attempt but we will do our best. We oppose any material which upsets children emotionally and psychologically," he added.

    Archimandrite Christoforos Tsakas, Secretary of the Synod Committee of the Church of Cyprus for Heretical Issues, was anxious to stress that any move to ban Harry Potter was part of a wider initiative to reduce evil influences in society.

    "I would like to emphasise that our concern is also a worldwide concern, expressed by other Christian nations across globe. Most countries are concerned with eliminating what we might call `drugs of the soul'," he added.

    Akis Christou at Nicosia's Solonion Bookshop was sceptical of the Church's initiative.

    "We live in a free society and everyone can read what they like.

    "The books do deal with magic, and this does go against the Church's teachings, so I can understand their point. I suppose they are afraid that young people will get accustomed to such notions.

    "But the books are bestsellers here at the Solonion and I think it will be very difficult to ban the books and films. The rights of freedom of speech and expression might be hard to get past," he added.

    Dr. Petros Kareklas, Permanent Secretary of the Education and Culture Ministry was dubious about the move.

    "My children have read the books and seen the films and they enjoyed them.

    "Personally, I think trying to ban Harry Potter will backfire, people will be more interested in the books and films because they have been banned.

    "I also believe that such an attempt is rather an anachronism in a country which is hoping to join the European Union next year," he added.

    The Church of Cyprus' opposition to Harry Potter mirrors that of the Greek Church, which recently denounced the films and books.

    The Harry Potter novels have also been challenged in several US states, where most Evangelical Christian bookshops refuse to stock the books.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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