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Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-11-12
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER 1999
 HEADLINESThe Attorney General has defended his position that the burden of proof law must be ammended, despite opposition from numerous deputies,
Limassol's Eighth Public School has closed its doors today to protest the operation of the Nemitsas smelting plant in the area,
while the Education minister has given instructions that the school stay closed the day of the plant's operation,
The Ministry of Trade is looking into banning plastic toys that may contain harmful chemicals,
Masked culprits attacked the offices of Greece's communist party,
The last Commonwealth summit of the century began today,
and two blasts rocked Pakistan's capital Islamabad.
 MARKIDES PROOFAttorney General Alecos Markides repeated the need to change the burden of proof law, and said he was saddened by what the chairman of the House Legal Committee had to say on the issue.
Speaking on CyBC radio, Mr. Markides denied that all government deputies voted for the bill and added that he has indisputable evidence that some voted against.
He made clear that the bill was sent to the House by the Council of Ministers and not his office, adding that the bill can only be withdrawn by the Council.
Referring to suggestions that ammendments made to the English constitution on the matter also be adopted in Cyprus, Mr. Markides said the ammendments are complicated and that the courts would be find themselves in the middle of the ocean, as he said, if they were adopted.
Mr. Markides said that the Loucaides bill is very simple and holds significant advantages.
He also denied accusations that the bill infringes upon human rights, but said the bill's aim is to make due process easier.
 ATTORNEY SUPPORTMeanwhile, Disy deputy Sophocles Hadjiyiannis defended the Attorney General, while at the same time decrying the House Legal Committee President's decision to prolong the issue.
Mr. Hadjiyannis said the Attorney General has called things as they are and that he was absolutely correct, while a large number of deputies share his views on the issue.
He also said the bill was not handled the same way as other bills reaching the House, and that it was burried, as he said, in the Legal Committee's filing cabinets.
But Disy deputy Rikkos Erotocritou offered a different view, calling the Attorney General's views on the issue unacceptable for the House and its deputies, and called on him to change them.
 SCHOOL CLOSEDLimassol's Eighth Public School has closed its doors today in a show of protest against the continued operation of the Nemitsas smelting plant in the area.
The school's parents' association decided to close the school due to health problems experienced by several students yesterday.
The assocaiton is also warning the Health Ministry that the school will stay closed every Tuesday and Thursday when the plant is operating, if the problem isn't resolved immediately.
Plant owner Takis Nemitsas said that he is ready not only to resolve the issue, but is prepared to take any responsibility for the consequences, if there are problems associated with the plant's operation.
Mr. Nemitsas also referred to a study commissioned by Limassol General Hospital which was submitted to the House when the issue was raised recently.
According to the study, no one who was examined showed any symptoms of illness.
 OURANIOS SCHOOLSMeanwhile, Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides said his ministry has given instructions that the Eighth Public School remain closed on the day the Nemitsas plant is in operation.
That means the school will be closed once every ten days.
Speaking on CyBC radio, Mr. Ioannides said the education ministry is investigating whether the plant is keeping with European standards and if it is emmitting waste products beyond acceptable limits.
Mr. Ioannides said the appropriate measures will be taken according to the investigation's findings.
The Education Minister made clear it is the Labour and Health Ministries that are responsible for the matter, and added that both those ministers have assured him that they are taking all necessary measures.
 ROLANDIS TOYSThe ministry of Trade is considering prohibiting the sale of plastic toys which may contain harmful chemical substances.
Speaking on CyBC radio, Trade Minister Nicos Rolandis said these are soft toys that children put in their mouths.
Mr. Rolandis made clear that any ruling issued by his ministry will take force when all European Union countries verify that such toys contain harmful chemical substances.
So far, Mr. Rolandis said, only seven countries have adopted this, and it's simply a matter of time before the others follow suit.
Once the ruling comes into force, all plastic toys containing the harmful substances will be withdrawn from the market.
 CLINTON REACTIONSA Greek government committee presided over by Prime Minister Costas Simitis will deal with the Clinton visit, as well as whether or not to allow anti-US demonstrations during the visit.
The Greek Prime Minister said yesterday that President Clinton's trip to Greece is in the country's best interests and will that it will give added impetus to promoting Greek issues.
Mr. Simitis also criticized opposition parties, saving the harshest criticism for the New Democracy Party, saying that the party did not assume its responsibilities and that all it cares about is to take partisan advantage of the visit.
On his part, New Democracy Party President Costas Karamanlis said the visit's postponement has seriously damaged Greek national interests and accused the Greek prime minister of being incapable of handling important national issues.
 COMMUNIST ATTACKMasked culprits attacked the offices of Greece's communist party yesterday afternoon.
Six masked persons invaded the party's offices wielding sticks and iron bars, injuring three people.
The culprits fled immediately after the attack.
In a statement, the Communist Party blamed the government for the attack, because, it claims, it is sowing the seeds of anti-communist sentiment through its propaganda.
The statement also said that communist party members will respond with mass rallies organized against President Clinton's upcoming visit to Athens.
 COMMONWEALTH STARTSThe last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting of the century opened in the east coast port of Durban today with South African President Thabo Mbeki calling for a "new human reality".
Mr. Mbeki and outgoing Commonwealth Secretary General Emeka Anyaoku welcomed the 47 heads of government and Britain's Queen Elizabeth, head of the 54-member group of mainly anglophone countries, while a traditional Xhosa choir chanted and danced.
 RUSSIA CHECHNYARussian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev lashed out at the United States, saying it wanted to weaken Russia and control the North Caucasus region where rebel Chechnya is located.
Mr. Sergeyev as said military commanders at a major meeting reviewing 1999 and looking ahead to 2000 that the United States and NATO were the main culprits in making this year "extremely unstable".
 PAKISTAN BLASTSTwo blasts, one near the U.S. Information Service centre, shook Pakistan's capital Islamabad today, while police said they were checking reports of two other explosions in the city.
Police said it was not known if anyone was injured and what caused the blasts.
The first blast occurred in late morning in a car parked about 90 metres from the USIS centre building in the busy commercial Blue Area district of Islamabad.
Witnesses said the car caught fire and one man was seen being taken to hospital. Hospital and ambulance services said they received no casualties from the explosions.
 ITALIAN BUILDINGThe death toll from yesterday's apartment building collapse in Northern Italy has reached at least 30, while another 11 people have been injured.
There are concerns that the number of dead could rise, as the chances of pulling more people out of the rubble alive are falling rapidly.
40 more people are believed to still be burried under the heap of rubble.
Meanwhile, rescue crews will continue their search for more survivors today.
 WEATHERThis afternoon will be mainly fine with some partial cloudy periods.
The winds will be northeasterly moderate, 3 to 4 beaufort, and the sea slight.
Tonight will also be fine.
The winds will be northwesterly light, 2 to 3 beaufort, and the sea calmed to slight.
The temperature will drop to 11 degrees inland, 13 degrees on the coast and 7 in the mountains.
The fire hazard is extremely high in all forest areas.