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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-17

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

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


Friday, January 17, 2003

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CONTENTS

  • [01] HMS Ocean 'heading for Cyprus'
  • [02] Wild mushrooms under threat
  • [03] CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa
  • [04] Bracing for road works on the Limassol roundabouts
  • [05] Cyprus to check toys after warning from Greece
  • [06] Occupied Cyprus: the new Costa del Crime
  • [07] US insists on settlement now
  • [08] De Soto upbeat on possible settlement
  • [09] Temporary cut in diesel prices
  • [10] Green light for political broadcasts
  • [11] Police admit crime rates were covered up
  • [12] AKEL calls Clerides to bring spokesman into line
  • [13] Cabinet to introduce cheap diesel for farmers

  • [01] HMS Ocean 'heading for Cyprus'

    By Jean Christou

    THE ROYAL Navy's helicopter carrier HMS Ocean set sail from Britain yesterday and was reported to be on its way to Cyprus via Gibraltar in preparation for a possible conflict in Iraq.

    British Bases spokesman Rob Need would last night neither confirm nor deny the report "for obvious reasons".

    Reports from the UK said that elite Royal Marine commandos and reservist chemical warfare specialists had joined Britain's military build-up. Three hundred marines and a crew of 750 were aboard the helicopter-carrier HMS Ocean when it sailed from Plymouth to join the largest British task force in 20 years for exercises in the Mediterranean, the reports said.

    "Friends and family waved tearful goodbyes -- and protesters unfurled 'Stop the War' banners -- as the hulking grey ship cast off to take part in the biggest British naval deployment since the Falklands war 20 years ago," Reuters news agency said.

    "They are saying that Ocean and other ships are going out for exercises on the Mediterranean," said peace campaigner Matt Bury, from Plymouth. "But of course, that's half way to Iraq."

    Ocean will join up with a task force led by the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which left Southampton on the south coast of England last Saturday with helicopters -- but no Reuters added.

    HMS Ocean was launched in 1995. Her primary role is to achieve the rapid deployment of an assault force by helicopter and landing craft. Ocean can transport and sustain an embarked military force of up to 800 men equipped with artillery, vehicles and stores. The ship has capacity for 40 vehicles but is not designed to land heavy tanks. There are full facilities for twelve Merlin and six Lynx helicopters, and landing and refuelling facilities for Chinook helicopters. Twenty Sea Harriers could be carried but not supported. The flight deck is 170m long and 32.6m wide, and there are two aircraft lifts.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Wild mushrooms under threat

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE number of wild mushrooms in Cyprus is dwindling significantly according to a report in yesterday's Politis.

    However, Thomas Kyriacou, Assistant Forest Officer at the Forestry Department, dismissed the idea that some species of edible fungi were in danger of becoming extinct.

    "We are not really in a position to be able to talk about extinction. For a start, we don't have enough data and research to be able to tell the extent of damage. We must not overstate the situation here in Cyprus. It's probably no worse than in other countries with wild mushrooms."

    However, Kyriakou does acknowledge the need to protect Cyprus' wild mushrooms.

    "We only have about five species of edible mushroom here which people collect.

    "These are to be found in relatively few areas on the island, due to climatic conditions. In most regions in Cyprus the soil is too dry for mushrooms, especially during the growth season in October and November. Only the more mountainous regions have adequate rainfall during this period.

    "Part of the problem is that because Cyprus is so small, all Cypriots have easy access to the mushrooms, so the few areas in which they grow come under great pressure.

    "When people go to gather mushrooms they concentrate on one or two species, such as the lactarius deliciosa or saffron milk cup, and the russula delica or milkwhite. But because of the methods used to collect these, other species are also destroyed."

    One method used by mushroom pickers is to pull the mushroom up by the roots instead of cutting off its top and leaving the root in the soil.

    "We have always gathered mushrooms in this way," said one mushroom picker.

    "I don't think this is why mushrooms are becoming scarcer though. Soil erosion is probably the main culprit," she added.

    Kyriacou confirmed that uprooting mushrooms could be damaging.

    "Uprooting mushrooms certainly contributes to the problem.

    "But it is not the main reason for their destruction, he said.

    "Agricultural fertilisers and sprays also have a negative impact on mushrooms.

    "But the worst problem is that many pickers use rakes to unearth mushrooms below the leaves and twigs on the forest floor. This is not an acceptable procedure.

    "Here in Cyprus mushrooms and trees have a symbiotic relationship more than 90 per cent of the time. This means that the destruction of mushrooms has a negative impact on trees and vice versa. By harming mushrooms we affect trees and other organisms that rely on mushrooms.

    "One solution is perhaps to encourage designated conservation areas for fragile species like mushrooms.

    "We need to respect our environment but to do this properly we have to increase our knowledge about mushrooms. They're a bit of an unknown quantity here.

    "So the real key is education. We mycologists must gain greater knowledge before we can educate the public.

    "First you should conserve the mycologist, then you can conserve the mushroom," he added.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    By Tania Khadder

    THE CYPRUS Tourism Organisation has expressed its concern at a Holiday Which? survey that listed Ayia Napa as one of the top 10 holiday `notspots' - `last resorts' to be avoided at all costs.

    According to the magazine survey, the `last resorts' earn the title by being synonymous with lager louts and sleaze. Once a sleepy fishing village, Ayia Napa's reputation as a family destination has hit rock bottom in the last three years thanks to an influx of mainly British clubbers. It is described in the magazine as follows: "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."

    Orestis Rossides, manager of the CTO in London, voiced his concern over the article's content, which he says paints an inaccurate picture of the resort.

    "I do not agree with the ranking, and have expressed this to the magazine's editor," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    "The way they do it is they send a journalist incognito to the resort and have them report their experiences. This journalist probably went during peak season and went mostly to the bars. On the other hand, we have many journalists that visit Ayia Napa and report very positively."

    Rossides said the organisation had been working to counter the resort's poor reputation over recent years, including advertisements they have been running during family-oriented television slots.

    "This concerns us very much because the reputation of Ayia Napa affects all of Cyprus," he said.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [04] Bracing for road works on the Limassol roundabouts

    By Alex Mita

    WORK to dismantle Limassol's notorious roundabouts and replace them with flyovers are expected to get under way in the coming weeks.

    The works are expected to last for three years at a cost of around 7 million per roundabout.

    Construction of the first flyovers at the Polemidhia and Limassol port roundabouts had been scheduled to start last September, after around two years of delay, blamed by the Communications Ministry on difficulties met in carrying out the project's environmental impact study as well as time needed by the electricity authority to bury the overhead power cables in the area. Plans to begin construction in autumn were again put on hold, and it is now thought that construction will begin in the next few weeks.

    Residents said yesterday it was about time the construction of the flyovers began, but some were still wary of the government's promises.

    "It's amazing how it took them so long to make up their minds about the flyovers," Michael Michael, the owner of a kiosk on the third roundabout, said yesterday.

    "It takes motorists up to three hours in the early hours of the morning and in the afternoon to get through the roundabouts. It's affected people's work schedule and many of the businesses in the area."

    Michael said he and other residents were looking forward to the start of the works, but were dreading the time the works would take and the inconvenience to thousands of daily commuters.

    Commuter Michael Prastitis said he was looking forward for construction to begin, but said the government shouldn't bother starting construction if they were going to take ages to finish.

    "I can only imagine what the situation here is going to be when they start construction: motorists are going to be massively inconvenienced, but I suppose it is for the best," he said.

    "However, if they are going to take a long time they shouldn't even bother.

    "The best thing is for them to work in the evenings and in the weekends, so as not to interfere with the flow of traffic," he said.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [05] Cyprus to check toys after warning from Greece

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE CONSUMER Protection and Competition Service will be testing a number of children's toys for faulty labels, defective parts and traces of lead and chromium, in an effort to reach a decision on whether they should be pulled off the market, a Commerce Ministry official said yesterday.

    The tests come after the Greek government announced this week they were withdrawing three toys from the market because they failed to comply with label regulations or were deemed unsafe for youngsters.

    Under the `Rapid Exchange Information System for Dangerous Products', an EU country is obliged to warn all member states and acceding states of any faulty products found in the market-place.

    The toys in question were described as a `punching bag and gloves', a children's tricycle and the JUSTSTART-TR 2000 scooter. Results of studies by the Greek Standardisation Organisation revealed the punch bag and gloves to have high levels of lead and chromium while failing to carry warning labels in Greek. The tricycle failed to satisfy EU regulations on the safety of small parts, while also lacking Greek warning signs stating the minimum age for use. Tests on the handlebars and steering frame of the JUSTSTART scooter failed to satisfy EU regulations, while omitting to include the name and address of the importer and an instruction manual in Greek.

    Marios Drousiotis from the Commerce Ministry said yesterday that a search for the toys would be conducted on the Cypriot market once specific details of each model had been obtained from Greece. "If we find them on the market, legislation allows us to stop sales of the models and conduct tests to check for defects," he said. Chemical tests to determine traces of lead and chromium are sent to the State Laboratory, while all mechanical tests are conducted in Greece.

    Drousiotis said Cyprus had the equipment to carry out mechanical tests to check whether products conformed with EU regulations, and was waiting for personnel to complete training in Greece before putting them into use.

    If it is proved that the toys are defective, sales will be permanently halted and a notice given out to all consumers either to return or dispose of the products. Laws concerning consumer rights state that the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement of a faulty good, said Drousiotis.

    Children absorb more lead than adults, affecting their cognitive development and behaviour.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [06] Occupied Cyprus: the new Costa del Crime

    By Jean Christou

    THE Turkish-occupied north of the island has become the new `Costa del Crime', sheltering at least 30-40 fugitives from British justice, a BBC 1 documentary has revealed.

    In the programme, Kenyon Confronts, investigative journalist Paul Kenyon headed for the north to track down four notorious criminals.

    One fugitive told Kenyon: "The lads here are on serious charges, I mean mega-serious, multiple murders, big drugs... If they deported all the drug dealers from here there would be no one left on the island."

    Kenyon said that for the past six years, one of his targets former nightclub owner Gary Robb, accused of being at the centre of a major drugs ring, had lived a quiet life in the sun, out of reach of British justice.

    The wealthy 40-year-old, who runs a successful building company in the north, was "glowing and portly after five years of living the high life" in a luxury mountain villa with his wife and two children, Kenyon reported.

    Robb's older brother and former business partner, James, 44, is languishing in a British jail serving 12 years for serious drugs offences in connection with which the fugitive himself was arrested but skipped bail in 1997. Robb fled to the north, "a sanctuary for those on the run from British law", the programme said.

    The brothers owned a string of nightclubs across the North-East of England, but a police raid in 1996 dug up 10,000 worth of ecstasy, amphetamines and cannabis.

    Kenyon followed Robb as he went to a builders' merchants for bathroom suites for his building developments, then confronted him with a catalogue of allegations.

    Kenyon said: "Robb seems to have a very relaxed lifestyle. He has this brilliant villa with a swimming pool. Generally the community in north Cyprus eat at nice restaurants and drink in relaxed bars overlooking the sea. It is like being on a permanent holiday.

    "When we showed Cleveland Police the pictures of Gary Robb when we returned from Cyprus, they didn't recognise him until they realised all the good living had made him quite plump. To be fair to Gary, while we were still undercover, he was always very polite and well mannered - you wouldn't guess he was a criminal."

    Kenyon then "confronts" Robb after posing as a potential client. "You've been on the run for five years now. Are you going to give yourself up? Have you got anything to say to all those back home? Why don't you go back to England and face trial? We are happy to take you back with us now," says Kenyon as Robb flees back to his villa near Kyrenia.

    Kenyon said later in the programme that Robb was on best behaviour in the north and didn't appear to be involved in anything illegal "because the authorities would throw him out".

    "But they are perfectly aware they have 30 or 40 British criminals on the run there," Kenyon said.

    However, the British journalist said the future of such fugitives was now in jeopardy with the advent of a possible political settlement and the island's accession to the EU. Britain has no extradition treaty with the unrecognised Denktash regime, but UK authorities could find themselves with a means to bring the fugitives to justice if the island was united.

    According to Kenyon, Gary Robb is now applying for `North Cypriot citizenship', which would make extradition procedures more difficult. "He looks as if he is going to succeed," says Kenyon. "It is very complicated, but basically it would make extradition more difficult."

    Robb cannot set foot in Britain without being arrested since there is still an outstanding warrant for his arrest. His mother Mavis Robb was also due to stand trial, but fled Britain and is also believed to be in the north, although the BBC did not manage to track her down.

    The BBC also tracked other wanted British fugitives such as Stan Rankin, charged in 1995 with possession of three million forged French francs, who even offered Kenyon cigarette smuggling and money laundering work, warning him: "There's a warrant out for me in England. The three most wanted men are here: Brian Wright, Asil Nadir and myself."

    Polly Peck tycoon Nadir, a Turkish Cypriot, fled Britain in 1991 when the group went bust and is wanted in the UK on fraud charges. Wright, allegedly Britain's biggest cocaine dealer, also fled to the island in 1999 when he learnt Customs and Excise were rounding up his gang. Multi-million pound fraudster John Doherty was jailed in Britain but served just one year of his five-year sentence before escaping: he is also believed to be in the north.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [07] US insists on settlement now

    By a Staff Reporter

    U.S. STATE Co-ordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston arrived on the island yesterday saying he believed a political settlement was possible by the end of February, the deadline set for an agreement by the UN.

    Speaking on arrival at Larnaca Airport after leaving Athens, Weston said the deadline was necessary in order to incorporate a solution into the EU accession treaty that Cyprus is expected to sign in April. Time was also needed to prepare the Greek and Turkish Cypriot people for separate referenda by the end of March, he said.

    "I suppose it could be February 27 or March 1, but it can't be much after. I think you do really need a period of time like that, of six weeks, to do everything that is necessary to make this an effective settlement. So I believe it is quite an important, firm period," Weston said. "I very much believe that a settlement is possible and should be accomplished by February 28," he added.

    Before leaving Athens, Weston said the US believed a deal should be reached as soon as possible. "The settlement should be now, it must be on the basis of the UN plan and should be done to permit entry of all of Cyprus and participation of all Cypriots to the benefits of membership in the European Union," he told reporters.

    Weston, who also held talks in Ankara, said he had been watching developments, particularly in the north of the island, where up to 70,000 Turkish Cypriots demonstrated for reunification on Tuesday and called on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to resign or sign the Annan plan.

    Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides resumed face-to-face talks in Nicosia on Wednesday in a bid to clinch a deal ahead of February 28. They are due to meet again today. Weston leaves the island tomorrow.

    UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto spent the day in Athens today, taking part in meetings with Weston and Greek government officials.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [08] De Soto upbeat on possible settlement

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE UNITED Nations said yesterday a deal to reunite Cyprus could be in place by February 28. "It's still possible to have a settlement... I think we have a reasonably good chance," special envoy Alvaro de Soto told reporters during a visit to Athens.

    De Soto, who earlier this week visited Turkey, said President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had committed to negotiating in earnest.

    "I am happy to say both leaders reiterated their commitment to pursue negotiations," he said. But he ruled out any change in the February 28 deadline under the UN plan for a deal.

    "As a practical matter I don't see any possibility going beyond that date," he said. "February 28 is really not an arbitrary date."

    De Soto said that, after meeting senior Turkish officials this week, Ankara seemed willing to support a peace deal.

    "I came away with a clear signal of Turkey's support for a solution to the Cyprus problem by the end of February," he said.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [09] Temporary cut in diesel prices

    By George Psyllides

    THE HOUSE of Representatives last night approved a temporary eight cents per litre cut in the basic price of diesel designed to compensate consumers for around heating oil taxes.

    The cut, which came into effect immediately, was deemed the most appropriate by the cabinet to compensate for the four-cent rise in heating fuel that has to be imposed in line with European Union harmonisation.

    The plenum also rejected, by an overwhelming majority, a proposed 10-cent increase in the price of a packet of cigarettes aimed at covering government losses incurred from the cuts in the price of diesel. The price of cigarettes has already risen recently by 10 cents.

    The diesel cuts will benefit owners of vehicles running on regular diesel, now costing around 23 cents per litre, while low sulphur diesel dropped to around 25 cents.

    The government had studied various methods, including adding colour to diesel, to compensate for the heating oil tax but decided the easiest way would be an across the board temporary decrease in the price of diesel.

    The cut will be in effect until March 31, when price levels will be readjusted.

    The plenum also approved regulations providing for the colouring of fuel used for agricultural purposes. Such fuel can only be used by farmers who would be exempt from consumer taxes.

    Unauthorised use of coloured fuel could lead to a fine or jail or both and the confiscation of any products, vehicles, or other means of transport belonging to the offender. The law comes into effect on February 10.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [10] Green light for political broadcasts

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE HOUSE yesterday approved provisions allowing the broadcast of political advertisements on radio and television stations during the period before the presidential elections.

    According to the provisions, political advertising on electronic media will be allowed in the forty days before the elections and 54 hours before polling day on February 16.

    Advisories will be aired before the ads and negative advertising has been banned. The House said any advertisement aimed at showing a candidate in a damaging manner without substantiation would be considered negative.

    During the pre-election period TV airtime for each candidate should not exceed 100 minutes and ads broadcast by radio stations should not exceed a total of one hour.

    If there is no winner in the first round of the elections, candidates will be permitted a further 25 minutes of television airtime and 25 minutes on the radio during the week before the second round of voting on February 23.

    Broadcasters will have to treat all candidates equally, and the advertising schedules will have to be submitted to the Broadcasting Authority before the first ad is aired.

    The House stressed that the provisions concerned only the presidential elections. The issue will be studied further at a later date in order to adopt regulations governing all elections.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [11] Police admit crime rates were covered up

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE CHIEF of Police has admitted to a meeting of the House Crime Committee that crime rate figures had in the past been manipulated to look better.

    AKEL MP Kikis Yiangou has campaigned for an investigation into police statistics regarding crime for a number of years.

    "Since 1996 I have been trying to bring this issue to the attention of the House Crime Committee but my concerns were repeatedly ignored or made a mockery of," he told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Speaking to the Crime Committee on Wednesday, Yiangou accused the Clerides government of disguising serious crimes so as to portray Cyprus as a country with a low crime rate.

    According to Yiangou, petty crimes were recorded but more serious ones such as rape, break-ins and theft were not.

    "When a chocolate bar was stolen from a kiosk it was recorded, while a rape or the theft of two or three thousand pounds was not."

    Speaking to the Committee, he said, "this unorthodox tactic was discovered by British investigators brought in by the government to examine the problems with the police."

    Yiangou also said that from police archives he had gained evidence of countless instances where crimes were not properly investigated.

    "Over 90 per cent of serious unsolved crimes are not recorded, not investigated and are not included in the preparation of crime statistics," he said.

    Speaking to the Mail yesterday Yiangou said that in one district police station statistics showed that 86 per cent of cases were successfully solved.

    "Now this is unbelievable. Even in England the police have a success rate of below 20 per cent. In reality, the percentage of cases solved at this particular police station is more like 10 per cent."

    Chief of Police Tassos Panayiotou was unavailable for comment yesterday but a Police Press Officer confirmed he had admitted that not all crimes were recorded by police.

    "Mr. Panayiotou acknowledged in the House Crime Committee that not all crimes were documented by district police stations. However, as Chief of Police he will ensure that this is rectified," he said.

    The revelation comes after recent allegations by British expats in Paphos that police were deliberately covering up the growing number of burglaries in the area.

    John Argyrou, Managing Director of Group 4 Securitas in Cyprus, said yesterday that there had been a definite increase in the number of alarm and security systems purchased in recent years.

    "There has been a clear increase in petty crime, and this is reflected in the number of burglaries and thefts you hear about on the news and in the papers.

    "People are realising that the cost of an alarm system is insignificant when compared to the total value of their property. The cost of an alarm system starts from as little as 300, which is less than a TV," he said.

    "We have a lot of enquiries about security systems from foreigners and expats. I think this is because they see the cost of an alarm system here as very reasonable. Most people who have lived in the UK are used to having one in their home," he added.

    Asked if there was greater demand for security systems in certain cities, Argyrou said, "In Nicosia it tends to be big companies and offices that have systems installed. In tourist areas like Limassol it tends to be houses and private residences."

    The heightened interest in security also extends to new developments.

    "Nowadays, new houses either have an alarm system or have provision for one. In fact, we carry out surveys on behalf of property developers so that they can leave provision for an alarm or CCTV if they do not install these themselves," he added.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [12] AKEL calls Clerides to bring spokesman into line

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    AKEL leader Demetris Christofias yesterday called on President Glafcos Clerides to have a good hard think about the behaviour of Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, and either bring him into line or give him the sack.

    He described Papapetrou's attitude towards AKEL-backed DIKO candidate, Tassos Papadopoulos, as unacceptable and called on the spokesman to "bring himself together and behave like a government spokesman and not a dynamiter".

    Christofias was referring to the latest in a long series of spats between Papapetrou and Papadopoulos over a BBC online report which described the DIKO front man as a "hardliner" belonging to the "rejectionist" camp.

    "It is not acceptable at this hour of developments in the Cyprus problem for the government spokesman to go about firing and blowing up any unity which exists in the handling of the Cyprus problem," he said, adding "it's as if he sees us as enemies not opponents".

    Christofias hailed the KISOS decision late on Wednesday to rejoin the tripartite alliance and give support to Papadopoulos in the presidential elections. He attributed "the development of a greater unity of support for Papadopoulos as candidate" to Clerides' decision to run again and proclaimed that more would follow in KISOS' footsteps.

    Earlier in the day, Papapetrou offered his resignation if the DIKO leader could prove that the depiction of Papadopoulos as a hardliner in the BBC report was not the view of the reporter, Tabitha Morgan, but that of a Cypriot journalist quoted in the article.

    Papapetrou was referring to a television programme where Papadopoulos refuted claims that Morgan held this opinion, maintaining instead they were the thoughts of Alithia columnist, Sofronis Sofroniou. "Is this how we're going to run a pre-election race, by lying?" asked the government spokesman.

    Asked whether Papadopoulos was a rejectionist, Papapetrou replied: "He has a political philosophy which is consistent," adding, "I think he has great consistency in his outlook, and because there is nothing to prove otherwise regarding his position on the Annan plan and negotiation methods, I conclude that nothing has changed." Papapetrou called "untrue" allegations that he had accused Papadopoulos of aiming to sign a solution of separation.

    He also said the charges by KISOS member Demetris Eliades that Papapetrou himself suggested in Copenhagen that Clerides sign the Annan plan unilaterally were a "big lie". He called on Eliades to provide evidence to the allegation or withdraw it, "otherwise he is just a public slanderer".

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [13] Cabinet to introduce cheap diesel for farmers

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE COUNCIL of Ministers yesterday approved Customs Department regulations regarding the introduction of coloured diesel for agricultural use.

    According to the guidelines, the price of coloured diesel will fall to 18.5 cents per litre - the base price once VAT and consumer tax are deducted.

    Commerce and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday that as EU regulations forbid the removal of VAT from the market price, farmers will have to pay the tax initially before being reimbursed by the government.

    The Minister warned that anyone using the coloured diesel for non- agricultural purposes could face up to two years in prison.

    But the move is unlikely to satisfy farmers such as militant potato growers.

    Blockades threatened by potato growers did not materialise yesterday but farmer George Katcharis warned that demonstrations and acts of protest would result if farmers' demands were not met.

    "We will give the government to the end of the month to resolve the problems but after that we will certainly act.

    "We will go to Nicosia in buses with our families and children and engage in peaceful protest at the Presidential Palace until we achieve our ends. We will also refuse to vote in the elections," he added.

    CTO anger at Which? report panning Ayia Napa

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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