|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-09-08
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
WEDNESDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 1999
 HEADLINES-- The death toll from the Greek earthquake has risen to 50. Twelve children were among the dead and another 73 people were still missing and 250 were injured.
-- Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides contacted Greek Prime minister Costas Simitis this morning and informed him about the assistance which Cyprus is ready to offer to Greece.
--A Cypriot team is leaving today for Athens to help in the rescue efforts.
-- US assistant Secretary of State, Marc Grossman said the UN Secretary-General and Us President Bill Clinton believe that now is the time for substantial progress in eastern Mediterranean and especially Cyprus.
-- Indonesia today rejected international calls for early deployment of foreign peacekeepers in East Timor where the capital burned and more than 1,000 terrified refugees were holed up in the U.N. compound.
-- Russian troops fighting Islamic rebels in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan said they had gained ground in the past 24 hours.
-- Prime Minister Ehud Barak's cabinet today approved the first handover of West Bank land to Palestinian self-rule under a breakthrough deal he signed three days ago.
 QUAKE GREECEThe death toll from the Greek earthquake has risen to.
The Athens News Agency quoted a list of names provided by the Welfare Ministry, which included 12 children. Another 73 people were still missing and 250 were injured.
The quake, measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, knocked down buildings in Athens yesterday and sent thousands of people onto the streets in panic.
The city rumbled with aftershocks today as rescue teams scoured piles of brick and concrete for survivors of the powerful earthquake.
Seismologists said more than 700 aftershocks had coursed through the Greek capital since yesterday, the highest reaching 4.7 on the open-ended Richter scale. Two others hit 4.2 on the scale while the quake itself was 5.9.
Thousands of Athenians stayed away from home during the night, sleeping in cars or pitching makeshift camps in parks in fear of the aftershocks.
Teams of rescue workers working under floodlights clambered over wreckage throughout the night, lifting slabs of concrete and listening for sounds of people trapped underneath.
They were to be joined later by teams from France, Switzerland and Turkey, which is returning the help its arch-rival Greece offered after a devastating quake struck the northwest of the country on August 17.
Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters that the priority is to find the missing and then assess the damage.
Dozens of people were believed still trapped under the rubble of a detergent factory and electrical appliance showroom. Sniffer dogs were sent deep into the wreckage to find survivors.
Officials said the overnight teams had slowed their searching pace because they feared sudden moves could tip rubble onto those still alive.
One fire fighter said the teams expected to find a number of bodies at a detergent factory that collapsed.
At least 45 people had been pulled out of various buildings in the northwest of Athens and calls for help had been heard from other collapsed structures. The crews concentrated their efforts on three sites -- the detergent factory, the showroom and a five storey apartment building which all collapsed from the tremor.
A number of children were killed in the quake, including three as they played in their nursery school. All schools in Athens were closed today.
The toll exceeds that caused by the last major quake to rock Athens -- a 6.6 tremor centred in nearby Loutraki in February 1981 -- which killed 20 people and severely damaged thousands of buildings across the city, including the ancient Parthenon.
Yesterday's epicentre was about 20 km north of Athens and was felt as far away as the Turkish city of Smirni.
But amid widespread damage, the historic buildings on and around the Acropolis escaped unscathed.
Athens airport remained open but officials at the Athens bourse said it would remain closed today because of the quake.
 CLERIDES QUAKECyprus President Glafcos Clerides contacted Greek Prime minister Costas Simitis this morning and informed him about the assistance which Cyprus is ready to offer to Greece following yesterday's quake there.
Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said President Clerides assured the Greek Premier that the Cyprus government is ready to offer any additional assistance is required.
Mr Simitis expressed gratitude to the government and people of Cyprus.
Mr Clerides will contact President Costis Stephanopoulos later today.
 CYPRUS AID GREECEA Cypriot team made up of members of Civil Defence, the Fire brigade the Technical Chamber and the government department in handling quakes is leaving today for Athens to help in the rescue efforts.
Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the cabinet in its weekly session decided today to send one million dollars in assistance to Greece.
He also said Cyprus is ready to send medical aid, tens and nurses to the greek capital.
Interior Minister Christodouloos Christodoulou said there is continued contact with the Greek capital and if necessary more Cypriots will be send to Athens.
 CYPRUS MINISTERS QUAKEMinisters and political parties in Cyprus expressed their sympathy and support to the victims of the quake in Greece.
Ministers of Interior, Health and Communications and Works, Christodoulos Christodoulou, Frixos Savides and Averof Neofitou sent telegrams of support to their greek counterparts, assuring them that Cyprus will grant any assistance required.
Political parties AKEL, Democratic Party, United Democrats and the Ecologists - Environmentalists parties also expressed their sympathy to the victims of the quake.
 GROSSMAN DENKTASHUS assistant Secretary of State, Marc Grossman said the UN Secretary-General and Us President Bill Clinton believe that now is the time for substantial progress in eastern Mediterranean and especially Cyprus.
The two sides in Cyprus, he said, must talk.
Mr Grossman was speaking after meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, US officials pointed out to Mr Denktash that under no circumstances his illegal regime will be recognised by the US, and the international community.
They said Washington wants a solution within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
The CNA reports that US officials assured Mr Denktash that if he enters talks on Cyprus without preconditions, then the benefits for his community and Turkey will be many.
 DENKTASH WASHINGTONTurkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash appeared totally negative in his contacts in Washington with US officials.
Mr Denktash reiterated his demand that he will attend the Cyprus peace talks only if his illegal regime in the occupied north of Cyprus is recognised.
According to the Athens News Agency, Mr Denktash said that direct talks could take place in Nicosia, without the two sides requiring to travel to New York.
He said he appreciates the personal interest of US president Bill Clinton for a Cyprus settlement, adding however that Turkey will not make any concessions because of the improving Greco-turkish relations.
Mr Denktash also met newly appointed Special Emissary for Cyprus, Alfred Moses.
 TIMOR DEVELOPIndonesia today rejected international calls for early deployment of foreign peacekeepers in East Timor where the capital burned and more than 1,000 terrified refugees were holed up in the U.N. compound.
Diplomatic pressure mounted on Indonesia to stop the violence, triggered by last week's ballot favouring East Timor independence, but Indonesia's leadership seemed in no mood to listen to foreign views on the matter.
President B.J. Habibie cancelled a trip to a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in New Zealand where the East Timor conflict will be the dominant topic on the sidelines.
Indonesia's armed forces spokesman said a U.N.-imposed 48-hour deadline to restore order in East Timor was not realistic.
Rampaging pro-Indonesia militias and troops roamed deserted streets in the East Timor capital of Dili and snipers targeted the U.N. compound.
The United Nations said it was investigating reports 100 people had been massacred in a church at Suai, on the south coast of East Timor
New Zealand Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said ministers would work to get Indonesia's consent for a U.N. "blue beret" force to go into East Timor to work with the Indonesian military.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said a U.N. Security Council team which arrived in Jakarta today would meet tomorrow to determine the situation in East Timor, the former Portuguese colony Indonesia invaded in 1975 and annexed the next year.
 TIMOR DEMOMeanwhile, several hundred Indonesians threw stones and eggs at the United Nations building in Jakarta today to protest against foreign interference in East Timor.
The protesters also held a mock hacking of Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, who was freed yesterday and is now in the British embassy, and burned a United Nations flag.
About 120 police, most armed with rattan sticks guarded the building.
Pro-Jakarta groups have staged several protests against the storm of international condemnation sparked by Jakarta's refusal to rein in anti-independence militias in East Timor.
 AUSTRALIA TIMORAustralian Prime Minister John Howard today said that the United Nations still supported sending a peacekeeping force to East Timor if Indonesian was unable to rein in rampaging pro-Jakarta militias.
Reacting to news that Indonesia had rejected any early peacekeeping force, Mr Howard added that economic pressure on Indonesia was an option for the international community.
 RUSSIA DAGESTANRussian troops fighting Islamic rebels in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan said they had gained ground in the past 24 hours after President Boris Yeltsin told generals to crush the rebels.
A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said federal forces backed by Dagestani volunteers captured a strategically important mountain position overlooking the road leading from border areas to the town of Khasavyurt, which officials say the rebels want to proclaim their capital.
Mr Yeltsin has lashed out at his generals for being caught off guard by the rebel onslaught and a devastating car bomb attack on a military apartment block which killed at least 64 people, mostly women and children.
 ISRAELI CABINETPrime Minister Ehud Barak's cabinet today approved the first handover of West Bank land to Palestinian self-rule under a breakthrough deal he signed three days ago.
A cabinet statement said the vote was 17-1 with one abstention and four ministers absent.
The 23-member cabinet was asked to approve the transfer by Monday of a further seven percent of the territory from full Israeli control to Palestinian civil control.
On Sunday, ministers voted 21-2 in favour of the overall accord to revive the Wye deal.
 MEXICO HURRICANEHurricane Greg pounded the tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula with heavy rain and wind yesterday sending hundreds of Mexicans to shelters, closing ports, and keeping tourists inside hotels before being downgraded to a tropical storm.
According to hurricane specialist Lixion Avila of the National Hurricane Centre in Miami Greg will be moving toward cooler waters so it will weaken tomorrow.
He said Greg was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Local officials said that rains associated with Greg had killed nine people in three Mexican states.
 WEATHERThis afternoon, there will be local cloud with isolated rain inland and over the mountains. Winds will be south-westerly to westerly moderate, three to four beaufort and the sea slight to moderate.
Tonight the weather will be mainly clear with easterly north-westerly to north-easterly winds, two to three beaufort and the sea slight. Temperatures will fall to 20 C inland and on the west coast, 22 C on the south coast and 15 C over the mountains.
The fire hazard remains extremely high in all forest areas.