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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-22

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

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


Wednesday, January 22, 2003

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Sex crimes: on the rise or better reporting?
  • [02] Government says no knowledge of TC passport scam
  • [03] Limassol police arrest family members
  • [04] Will he or won't he? Denktash stance still unclear
  • [05] Briton investigated after fraud allegations
  • [06] Experts check acquis implementation
  • [07] House vetoes civil servant wage-cut
  • [08] 'Solution is in the people's hands'
  • [09] EAC one step closer to satellite link-up
  • [10] Parents pull pupils from school over 'problem child'
  • [11] Papadopoulos edges ahead in polls

  • [01] Sex crimes: on the rise or better reporting?

    By Tania Khadder

    A 63-YEAR-OLD man was sentenced to ten years in prison on Monday for sexually abusing his mentally and physically handicapped son over the past 14 years.

    Police began investigating the man, who lives in an undisclosed village, when he bashed his nine-year-old daughter six months ago and an unknown individual reported the incident.

    Also on Monday, in a separate case, the district court of Nicosia charged an 80-year-old man with sexually abusing the same handicapped boy and his nine-year-old sister. The man has pleaded not guilty and will appeal the case on May 8.

    This heinous string of sexual abuse may be less-than-shocking considering some of Cyprus' recently reported sex crimes.

    With a 43-year-old man from Nicosia being held for allegedly raping a 58- year-old woman on Sunday night, and three teenage girls being questioned over the weekend kidnapping, beating and sexually assault of a 19-year-old girl, one might wonder whether or not sexual violence is on the rise in Cyprus.

    "It seems so," social psychologist Stravos Stravrou explained, "but we're not sure if there is an increase in these types of offences, or if there are simply more reports."

    According to Anita Koni, principal officer at Welfare Services, the number of reported cases of sexual abuse within the family has more than doubled. Whereas in 1998 12 cases of abuse were reported, there were 28 and 27 cases reported in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

    Although with increased social awareness it has become easier for victims to come forward, there are still many more cases that go unreported, making it difficult or impossible to accurately estimate figures.

    "Many cases go unreported because people are afraid to go through all the publicity," Koni said. "Also, because the subject is so sensitive people don't like to go through this procedure."

    Judges in Monday's conviction involving the 63-year-old man and his handicapped son were concerned by the fact that the situation was not reported sooner by the village community.

    "It's a very well-hidden secret, either within the family, or within the community," Koni said. She emphasised that without someone coming forward to report such behaviour, welfare services are powerless. "It's the responsibility not only of the family but of the community in general."

    As to why an individual might commit such a crime Koni said there is no simple answer. "There has not been any research done in Cyprus on this subject, but other research shows that many of these people were abused themselves," she added.

    Stravrou pointed specifically to the role of the family in creating or preventing a potential sexual offender.

    "Good parenting during childhood can help young individuals develop a mature and solid character," he said. "But in families in which children experience violence or rejection, they don't manage to develop their morality and they are prone to deviant behaviour."

    In cases where children are sexually abused, the offender is often someone with low self-esteem who wants to feel powerful in some way.

    "Sexual abuse mostly happens from a person who has some relationship with the child," Koni said. "When you sexually abuse a child, it's an exercise of power: not just physical strength but mental and emotional as well."

    The best way to deal with sexual abuse, says Koni, is to focus specifically on preventative measures. If sexual violence is a vicious cycle, where abused children subsequently become abusers, educating young children so that they are prepared to decipher and respond correctly to abuse is crucial.

    "It is very difficult to identify sexual abuse even if a social worker goes to the house," Koni said, "So the best thing is to have preventive programs, in school for example, that equip children so that they can identify what is a good touch and what is a bad touch and to provide them with someone to talk to whom they can trust."

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [02] Government says no knowledge of TC passport scam

    By Alexia Saoulli

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday denied all knowledge of reports that Turkish Cypriots were being forced to pay hefty fees to secure passports from the Republic, said a senior Interior Ministry official.

    According to Politis newspaper, Turkish Cypriots wanting to acquire Cyprus Republic passports are forced to pay fees as high as £1,000 to Turkish Cypriot 'Mafiosi' and their associates in the government controlled areas.

    The law states that any Turkish Cypriot wanting to require a passport must apply to the relevant Interior Ministry service in Nicosia. A group of Turkish Cypriots helped others cross over from the north, posing as workers, for a fee of £500-£1,000. They were then shuttled down to Nicosia in groups, where they were met by Greek Cypriot associates who obtained false documents for them, which are necessary in any citizens passport application (birth certificate and identity card). The reason Turkish Cypriots went along with this procedure, said Politis, was because anyone that applied through normal channels ran the risk of being turned over to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's regime by Greek Cypriot accomplices.

    But Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou said he was not aware of such illegal practise.

    "I don't know where this information has come from," he said. "Five or six months ago we had similar anonymous allegation made to us and we looked into them. A thorough police investigation uncovered nothing."

    "I have no way of knowing if in the occupied areas Turkish Cypriots are given false promises, but in the free areas there is no way this can happen since it a simple procedure to acquire a passport," he pointed out. Panayiotou said Turkish Cypriots merely had to apply to their local authority with documents proving they were in fact Turkish Cypriot and that from that point on they were free to obtain a passport like all citizens of the Republic.

    "I don't see why such a gang should be in operation. There is no need for one in the government-controlled areas because it is easy to get a passport (here). I don't know about the occupied areas," he said.

    If this phenomenon were true, however, it had to be "uprooted and crushed," said Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, who expressed his shock at the mere thought that such suspicions existed.

    "The last thing we can accept is some people financially gaining from Turkish Cypriots' political wish to see Cyprus united and to function like citizens of the Cyprus Republic," he said, promising that the allegation would be investigated in depth.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [03] Limassol police arrest family members

    A FATHER and his three sons attacked and wounded Limassol police officers on Monday night, when police tried to arrest one of them during a drugs bust, police said yesterday.

    At around 6.30pm on Monday, police stopped a 23-year-old man for questioning. The suspect allegedly over-reacted to the investigation and had to be forcefully restrained. Police say they found what looked like eight grams of cannabis. At this point, the young man's father and two brothers arrived on the scene and allegedly attempted to free him by attacking the policemen.

    They also unleashed their dog onto them, said police. The family was finally brought under control and arrested. Three officers were taken to Limassol general hospital for treatment and released, police added.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [04] Will he or won't he? Denktash stance still unclear

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH CYPRIOT leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday that he wanted a referendum before the signing of any possible agreement on the Annan plan.

    "This is a legal obligation. We will bring this to the attention of (UN envoy Alvaro) de Soto today so he knows about it and is not faced with a surprise," Denktash told the Turkish Cypriot news agency TAK.

    The Annan plan, which is being negotiated by Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides, calls for a referendum on after an agreement is signed. The deadline for a deal is February 28, with plans for separate referenda on March 30, in time for a united Cyprus to sign the EU accession treaty in April.

    Denktash has come under heavy pressure since his side failed to sign a preliminary agreement on the Annan plan during the EU summit in Copenhagen last month. Tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots demonstrated against him last week in the north, calling for a deal to be signed or for the veteran leader to resign.

    Denktash told TAK yesterday that 'TRNC laws' required that agreements which "bring limitations to its sovereignty and international existence" be put on a referendum before they are signed and ratified by parliament.

    "Knowing well that the Turkish side's demands are not going to be accepted without any change, Denktash has announced that he is not going to sign the final package that will emerge," Turkish mainland newspaper Milliyet reported yesterday.

    "Denktash has announced that even if the "Annan plan's latest version" came to be accepted in a referendum he would still refuse to sign it as the "negotiator."

    He says that he would ask Parliament to find a new negotiator, the paper added. "I would not destroy my people. Let anyone who dares, sign it," Denktash was quoted as saying.

    "Thus, he gives the message that a new negotiator who would be willing to sign the document may come to be branded as a traitor," Milliyet said.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [05] Briton investigated after fraud allegations

    By Sofia Kannas

    A BRITISH man from Limassol arrested in connection with fraud charges is being investigated jointly by Limassol CID and Interpol.

    48-year-old Gregory Sydeham was arrested last Friday after individuals alleging they had been duped into investing their money in a company abroad reported him to Limassol Police.

    "The case came to light when three investors came forward and reported Sydeham to us," a source at Limassol CID told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "Since then more than twenty people have come forward and reported Sydeham in connection with fraud.

    "The alleged victims were mostly elderly British people or expats who invested their pensions with Sydeham," he said.

    Sydeham denies full responsibility for investors' losses.

    "He mentioned two other British names in connection with the fraud. But of course these are Sydeham's own allegations."

    Sergeant Lefteris Kyriakou, Investigating Officer at the Limassol Financial Fraud Unit was pleased with the investigation so far.

    "People are still coming forward but it's a complicated case as it involves collecting evidence from Cyprus and abroad. We also need the assistance of various banks in checking accounts.

    "We are currently waiting for information from UK police and Interpol, with whom we are cooperating," he added.

    Sydeham, who moved to Cyprus with his family in 1994, appeared in court on Friday to face seven charges, including felony, forgery, money laundering and fraud.

    He was remanded in custody for eight days.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [06] Experts check acquis implementation

    By Sofia Kannas

    A DELEGATION of EU experts is conducting inspections on the island this week. Lead by the EU's chief negotiator with Cyprus Leopold Maurer, the delegation is monitoring the process of the implementation of the acquis communautaire by government ministries, in preparation for Cyprus' EU accession.

    According to a source within government, the team is here make on-location inspections and monitor how much progress is being made.

    "It's the same team that visited last February, in fact these inspections take place every few months. It's a routine inspection," the source said.

    "Basically members of the delegation, accompanied by various ministers, will visit places such as ports, airports and abattoirs and assess the situation."

    Asked whether the delegation would announce its findings to the public, the source said.

    "There will be a press conference on Thursday (tomorrow) during which the team members will spell out their evaluation of Cyprus on these issues."

    Maurer yesterday met with Foreign Affairs Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides to discuss developments since the EU Copenhagen Summit.

    "If there is no solution to the Cyprus Problem (by April 16) the Republic of Cyprus will enter the EU anyway and any solution which may follow will mean the incorporation of Turkish Cypriots into that part of Cyprus which is already an EU member state," Cassoulides said.

    Maurer also met with Byron Kranidiotis, leader of the Employers and Industrialists Federation, for talks regarding the future role of the Federation within the EU.

    Maurer expressed his satisfaction with the meeting, saying it was "the beginning of excellent working partnership."

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [07] House vetoes civil servant wage-cut

    A GOVERNMENT proposal to lower entry-level wages for civil servants has been rejected by the House of Representatives.

    The proposal, which would have led to a 10 per cent drop in starting salaries for new civil servants, was agreed to by the Civil Servants' Union (PASYDY) and the government in February last year.

    Reports estimate that personal expenses, wages, pensions and bonuses for civil servants in 2003 will cost the state £860 million, which amounts to 27.9 per cent of total state expenses for the year.

    The House's rejection of the agreement last Thursday was condemned by the government Trade and Industry Chamber (KEVE), which considers a wage reduction essential for the state's finances.

    "We did sign an agreement but the House of Representatives had a different opinion," Glafcos Hadjidemetriou, Secretary General of PASYDY told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Asked if PASYDY was pleased at the defeat of the agreement he said,

    "I can't say whether we are happy or not at this outcome. We have to accept the House's decision whatever our feelings are."

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [08] 'Solution is in the people's hands'

    By Sofia Kannas

    A MEETING of prominent Cypriots from both sides of the green line called for unity and tolerance on the road to a united Cyprus joining the EU.

    Turkish Cypriots crossed the divide to take part in a bi-communal discussion forum organised by the Cyprus Delegation of the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO).

    The forum, which took place at the Nicosia Holiday Inn, was lead by former leader of the Communal Liberation Party, Mustafa Akinçi and Chief Editor of the Kibris Media Group, Süleyman Ergüçlü.

    During the discussion, entitled After Copenhagen: Is There Still a Chance For a Solution?, Akinçi assessed the Copenhagen Summit from a Turkish Cypriot point of view.

    "Unfortunately, at Copenhagen the Turkish Cypriots were left alone -- we had nobody to support our interests there."

    Reviewing the policy of Rauf Denktash, Akinçi said the Turkish Cypriot leader was deliberately attempting to block northern Cyprus' EU entry.

    "Denktash was asking the impossible to avoid the possible. His policy is not in the interest of Turkish Cypriots or Turkey.

    "They (those who support him) don't want to see a solution in Cyprus-they think we should learn to live with the problems."

    "It's a shame our leader (Denktash) leaves us no option but to criticise him. He is blocking the EU ambitions of both the Turkish Cypriots and Turks."

    Asked if the majority of Turkish Cypriots wanted to join the EU Akinçi said "I'm convinced they want to join the EU -- they have proved it to Ankara, to the Greek Cypriots and to the international community.

    He also said that Turkish Cypriots did not want EU accession solely for financial reasons.

    "Quality of life is not just materialistic. It's also about human rights, self-rule and multiculturalism."

    Akinçi also highlighted the "real danger" of mass emigration of Turkish Cypriots from the north and the continuing influx of Anatolian Turks into occupied areas if a solution was not found soon.

    "The process will accelerate without a solution, for sure," he warned.

    Asked what the Turkish Cypriots expected from the Greek Cypriots, he said

    "We don't want bravos for the demonstrations in the north. What we want is a firm commitment to the Annan Plan -- and we aren't hearing this from the Greek Cypriot side.

    "I don't want to see the killing off of the Annan Plan in the Greek Cypriot Presidential election campaign. We need an unreserved 'yes,' " he added.

    Kibris Editor Ergüçlü reiterated the need for a solution.

    "We can't take (the situation) any more, the world can't take it any more. We should understand what happened in the past but we should leave it there."

    Ergüçlü said lack of confidence between the two sides was a major stumbling block to a solution and asked Greek Cypriots to be "generous" in meeting the concerns and anxieties of Turkish Cypriots.

    George Vassiliou, former President and Chief Negotiator for EU accession, reiterated Ergüçlü's sentiments when asked to comment on the issues raised.

    "Absolutely Greek Cypriots have to be generous - we are by far the bigger community, we are more successful economically. We have to stop seeing the situation in terms of Turkey and see it in terms of Cyprus alone.

    "We must also face reality and admit that there is no unreserved 'yes' to the Annan Plan here in Cyprus. It's the duty of every Greek Cypriot to listen to the message of the Turkish Cypriots.

    "We must also oblige our politicians to stop hiding behind their little fingers and accept the Annan Plan - not just as a basis for negotiations, but as a basis for a lasting solution."

    This view was echoed by Ergüçlü.

    "Turkish Cypriots think Greek Cypriot leaders are not taking a solution seriously. As they (Turkish Cypriots) see it, the Greek Cypriot politicians believe they have EU membership in their pocket, and are waiting for April, hoping to avoid signing the Annan Plan."

    "What we need is an establishment based on cooperation and confidence.

    Vassiliou warned that a failure to arrive at a solution now could be disastrous.

    "It's dangerous to think the Annan Plan will be forcibly implemented by the international community. We Cypriots are not the centre of the world and once the international community loses interest we will be left with a Cyprus divided for even longer," he said.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [09] EAC one step closer to satellite link-up

    By George Psyllides

    THE CABINET yesterday gave the green light to the Electricity Authority (EAC) to participate in the Hellas Sat satellite venture due to be launched in March.

    Trade Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis said the cabinet approved the move even if Hellas Sat has not provided all the necessary documents requested by his ministry.

    The satellite is due for launch on March 11 and will provide television and telecommunications services for the 2004 Athens Olympics while covering Greece, Cyprus, and another 25 countries in the Balkans, central Europe and the Middle East.

    Rolandis said the EAC's participation in the consortium has been approved with the condition that his ministries demands would be satisfied.

    The ministry wants proof that the loan -- $100 million-would have been secured by Hellas Sat before the EAC committed its capital.

    A second condition was that Greek telecommunications organisation (OTE) must finalise a deal for the leasing of eight transmitters from Hellas Sat.

    Rolandis said OTE has already decided it would lease the transmitters.

    The Hellas Sat venture is expected to cost between $170 to $180 million with the EAC participating in the project with $19 million.

    At this stage the company's share capital is $73 million while the rest would be borrowed, Rolandis said.

    Around $70 million would be spent to acquire the satellite, $50 million on the launch, which would take place in the USA, and $30 million would be paid to insure the satellite, if something should go wrong with the launch.

    The minister said the figures have been confirmed through studies carried out by independent experts.

    There is a final obstacle to overcome, as the EAC funds must be approved by the House, which is not scheduled to meet until after the presidential elections.

    Rolandis said the approval must be given early in March to enable the EAC to withdraw the funds on time.

    The minister said he did not know whether the House would hold an extraordinary plenary session though it is understood that the government would have to request it first.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [10] Parents pull pupils from school over 'problem child'

    By Alexia Saoulli

    PARENTS AT a Nicosia primary school were yesterday instructed not to send their children to school after the Education Ministry failed to transfer a disruptive pupil.

    The Cyprus Primary Schools' Union, as well as educators, have denounced the option of moving the11-year-old boy and say more should be done to help the child fit in, rather than simply stigmatising him. For its part the Ministry said it had made plans to offer the boy help but that the school's Parents Association had rejected these.

    On Monday the Palouriotissa B Primary School Parents Association told parents to keep their children home yesterday to protest the Ministry's failure to deal with a student, who according to their press release was "violent, obscene and a danger to other children's safety."

    "The boy is a danger to himself and other children," said the association chairman George Theodoulou. "We want the Ministry to come up with a direct solution that will help treat him so that he can eventually fit into his social environment."

    Theodoulou said the problems started at the beginning of the new school year. For four months the association called on the Ministry to offer the child daily emotional and psychological support, but was ignored.

    "There are 100 children like this boy in Nicosia and none of them receive special attention. Why not? Because these programmes cost money? These kids will grow up psychologically unbalanced and become a threat to themselves and society," he warned.

    The 11-year-old boy was highly intelligent, but suffered from a series of severe psychological problems that dated back to his childhood, said Theodoulou. "He is unpredictable and violent and blows up at random."

    According to Theodoulou the child had allegedly tried to commit suicide a number of times by jumping off the school's roof, attacked his teacher's aid, sending her to hospital, concussed a little girl and took sharp objects, such as razor blades, into class.

    "He is not even happy at our school and wants to go back to his old one. He only came to this school because he moved home and his address changed," he said. Under the state school system, children go to school in the area they live in. "We don't have a problem with his presence here if the Ministry does something to help him. This action was not to ostracise the child, but a way of getting the government to help all children in the same fate."

    But that is exactly what they were doing, said Primary School Union President, Dinos Ellinas. "I categorically disagree with this school's parents association. They should find a way to help the child join the social whole and not set him aside. If adults cannot accept him how can other children," he said.

    The Cyprus Mail learned yesterday that other children at the school had learned the boy "had a problem with his brain" and that they called him names.

    "When children feel threatened or unaccepted by those around them they will react negatively. Speaking from experience, the child should be shown kindness and love and he will flourish. He should also be under the care of educational psychologists and given special attention by his teachers," said retired headmistress Anna Farmaka. But, having worked as a teacher for 36 years, she knew only too well how understaffed educational psychologists were.

    "There are so many schools and so many pupils and yet so very few experts to see them all. It is up to the government to employ more," said Farmaka.

    The Ministry's Primary Education department issued a statement that said it had decided to give the child a "special education, a permanent escort, support during specific hours and to draw up a special programme in co- operation with an educational psychologist" instead.

    Theodoulou said this "special education" involved keeping the child out of class except physical education, art and music. "That will lead to his discrimination and possible ridiculing and besides he should have a proper education," he said.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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    [11] Papadopoulos edges ahead in polls

    By George Psyllides

    D.I.K.O. CHIEF Tassos Papadopoulos leads President Glafcos Clerides by 1.4 per cent in the presidential race, according to the latest survey.

    The survey, published in yesterday's daily Altihia, showed floating voters would be the decisive force in the election while the main criteria that would swing the vote is the Cyprus problem and the prospects for its solution.

    The survey showed that 36.5 per cent of the electorate would vote for Papadopoulos in the first round, with Clerides a close second at 34.9 per cent.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides chalked up 10.4 per cent, New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou 1.4 per cent, while 16.9 per cent of the sample said they were undecided or would not answer.

    According to the survey, if Clerides and Papadopoulos got through to the second round, the DIKO chief would receive 39.8 per cent of the vote and Clerides 38.4 per cent.

    However, 21.8 per cent of the sample either said they would not vote for any of the two, or were undecided or would not answer, Alithia said.

    In a different scenario where Papadopoulos and Markides got through to the second round, Papadopoulos achieved a clear lead - 42.3 per cent - with Markides trailing with 32 per cent.

    In this case the percentage of floating voters rose to 33 per cent, the daily said.

    The survey found Clerides to be the most suitable to negotiate a suitable solution of the Cyprus problem with Papadopoulos and Markides trailing with 25.9 and 11.4 per cent respectively.

    The overwhelming majority - 74.7 per cent - of the sample suggested that the next few months would be critical with 24.3 per cent disagreeing.

    Twenty-six per cent said that a satisfactory solution could be implemented in the next six months, 22 per cent said between six months and a year, 20.3 per cent thought it would take one to two years and 9.1 per cent said four years.

    Experts check acquis implementation

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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