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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-05-06

Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Thursday, May 06, 1999

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Government set to speed up privatisations

THE ECONOMY, the appearance of a new religious cult, and the war in Yugoslavia were yesterday's main stories, as papers began to concentrate more on domestic issues.

Politis reported that the government's decision to go ahead with the privatisation of state organisations had attracted the interest of foreign investors, who were particularly keen to take over the running of the island's airports. The decision for privatisations signalled the speeding up of the EU harmonisation process as well as a drastic change in government philosophy, with the involvement of private firms in the country's development policy. According to the paper's information, a British company was interested in investing some £70 million to develop Larnaca port. The Council of Ministers was expected to change the procedures to pave the way for co- operation with this firm. Regarding the running of Larnaca and Paphos airports, six foreign firms had shown an interest.

Haravghi reported that the unions were threatening to take industrial action in "sensitive sectors" of the economy, including the airports, in order to force the government to resolve the ongoing dispute at the two Larnaca hotels belonging to Lordos Holdings. The action was inevitable, given the "indifference" shown by the government. The strike by the sacked workers at the two hotels had entered its 95th day, but the government still refused to act, despite the repeated warnings by the unions that the dispute "posed serious dangers to the economy". Union leaders are annoyed that Greek workers have been employed at the hotels.

Phileleftheros said that opposition parties had been quick to react to the views of the Finance Minister and Central Bank Governor about the need for the immediate liberalisation of the credit and monetary system. Both Edek and Akel had accused the government of taking decisions before President Clerides had completed his contacts about the economic measures with party leaders. Clerides was expected to write to party leaders asking for their views about the agenda he had prepared with regard to the public finances and government revenue. The government wants to raise the rate of VAT as well as taxes on alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and petrol.

Machi led with a report about a religious cult, known as the "Disciples of Christ", which allegedly proselytises young people and organises trips to the occupied north and Turkey. It said that "it is now certain that the heretic group is made up of Americans, who, according to our secret services, have lured members of the Orthodox church as well as foreigners". The group is registered as a company named "International Church of Christ Cyprus Ltd". The paper claimed there were 200 religious cults operating in Cyprus. One cult priest, it claimed, had told a young student that she had to have sex with him so she could be "purified".

Simerini, quoting French papers L'Humanité and Le Monde, said that, at Rambouillet, the US had wanted the Serbs to sign an agreement that would turn Yugoslavia into an American protectorate. The agreement envisaged the stationing of 30,000 Nato troops in Kosovo with the right to move freely in the rest of Yugoslavia. It also granted the right of self-determination to Kosovo, three years after the signing of the agreement. The Yugoslav delegation was told by the US that there was no scope for negotiation on the agreement and that they could "take it or leave it".

Alithia reported that despite the fact that the Clinton-Chernomyrdin talks had not produced any results, there were still hopes for a breakthrough as the US wanted the talks to continue. Hopes were raised by news of an extraordinary meeting by foreign ministers of the Group of Eight who were to formulate a seven-point plan that would form the basis for a peace deal.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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