|Sunday, 25 February 2024
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 02-02-20
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HeadlinesAn Israeli helicopter today fired a missile near Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but he emerged unscathed as Israel retaliated with fury for the killing of six Israeli soldiers in the West Bank,
Fire swept through a crowded passenger train near Cairo early today, killing almost 300 people whose charred bodies were found trapped in carriages and between the bars of windows,
Foreign minister Ioannis Casoulides stated that he expects more active involvement by the international community in the second phase of direct settlement talks,
Ageing British pop legend Cliff Richard may be 61, but he still has enough pulling power to convince two middle-aged women to queue for over a week for tickets to his forthcoming UK tour.
 Mideast MadnessAn Israeli helicopter today fired a missile near Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but he emerged unscathed as Israel retaliated with fury for the killing of six Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.
At least 13 Palestinian civilians and security officers were killed in the barrage of Israeli reprisal strikes against Palestinian targets across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It was the closest Israel has come to harming Arafat, under Israeli siege in Ramallah, in nearly 17 months of bloodshed which U.S. and international mediation has failed to curb.
The attack on the Israeli army checkpoint and fierce retaliation threatened a worse deterioration to come in one of the deadliest phases of violence between the sides, set in motion this week, since a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation flared seventeen months ago.
An armed wing of Arafat's Fatah faction and the militant Islamic group Hamas issued rival claims of responsibility for the attack on the army post west of Ramallah in which gunmen shot the soldiers at close range in a caravan and then fled.
The deadliest strike on troops in the uprising was bound to put right-wing pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for stronger action against the Palestinians and boost calls from the left for a pullout in the West Bank and Gaza.
Ten Israelis and 25 Palestinians, including two suicide bombers, have been killed since Monday in one of the worst spasms of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
 Egypt fireFire swept through a crowded passenger train near Cairo early today, killing almost 300 people whose charred bodies were found trapped in carriages and between the bars of windows.
A rescue worker said passengers frequently brewed their own tea and coffee on small stoves, one of which might have started the fire.
About 75 injured passengers were taken to hospital.
Passengers jumped out of windows and doors to escape the flames and smoke as the train rolled on for another five miles after the fire started.
The train had been heading south from Cairo to Luxor in the south of the country when the fire broke out just after midnight, forty five miles south of the capital, near the town of Al-Ayyiat.
All the dead were believed to be Egyptians.
The train was overcrowded with people heading for the countryside to spend the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday with families.
Foreign tourists frequently travel on trains to visit ancient sites in the southern cities of Aswan and Luxor, but tend to use air-conditioned first-class or sleeper trains for security and comfort reasons.
The train was an old, slow-moving model used mostly by poor Egyptians. It stopped at nearly every station because it also was used to carry daily newspapers to towns and villages along the River Nile.
 casou CyprusForeign minister Ioannis Casoulides stated that he expects more active involvement by the international community in the second phase of direct settlement talks. In statements to our station, he said that during the first phase, the two sides have submitted their positions without the intervention of the United Nations and other international mediators. Casoulides, on a three day visit to Germany, also expressed the view that the international community will be more actively involved in the second phase and by April it will become evident whether any progress can be achieved. The foreign minister particularly referred to the visit on the island, in March, of the American co-ordinator at the State Department Thomas Weston, as well as the arrival of two senior German officials and a possible visit of European commissioner for Enlargement Gunther Verheugen. Casoulides also said that in April, the British minister of Europe Peter Hein is expected on the island, while similar visits will also take place in Ankara. He urged patience until June. Then, he added, it will become clear whether a comprehensive solution can be achieved.
 Michos CyprusGovernment spokesman Michalis Papapetrou expressed the view that there will be no solution of the Cypris problem, if Ankara's positions, will be along the lives declared daily by Turkish cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who insists on the so-called realities, meaning two independent states and the claim that there are no refugees. In statements to our station and prior to his departure for Athens, Papapetrou also expressed the hope that at some point the Turkish side weill realise it is both to her interest, as well as the interest of Greek-Cypriots to change its attitude and co-operate for a solution of the Cyprus problem, based on Security Council resolutions. The government spokesman urged patience and calm, saying that everyone says that at this stage, it is preferable not too give away too much and the two sides should merely put forward their positions. Papapetrou, who will brief the Greek political leadership in Athens, said he doesn't expect President Clerides to visit the Greek capital before the start of the second round of talks, stessing that the visit will take place, when conditions warrant it.
 Alvaro goneThe UN chief's special advisor on the Cyprus issue Alvaro De Soto, left for New York this morning, following the completion of the first phase of settlement talks. In New York, De Soto will brief UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and the members of the Security Council over the course of the talks. Prior to his departure from Larnaca airport, De Soto refrained from making any statements, but spoke brieflu with Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou who left for Athens and head of the Cyprus accession negotiating team Yiorgos Vassiliou, who left for Finland. As announced by the United Nations, the talks will break off for a period of reflection and will restart on the first of March. Meetings between President Clerides and Rauf Denktash will be held every Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning, unless it is otherwise decided at the time.
 Denktash CleridesMeanwhile, Denktash made new preposterous claims yesterday following the completion of the first phase of talks with President Clerides, saying that the return of refugees, was undermining the 1960 establishment treaty. The Turkish-cypriot leader also claimed that the Greek-cypriot side wants to move 60 to 70 thousand people in the occupied territories and spread Turkish-cypriots to the rest of the island. Denktash made the unacceptable claim that the issue of exchanging properties exists since the exchange of populations in 1975.
 Armenian visitArmenian defence minister Serj Sargisian arrived in Cyprus this morning for a five day official visit. He is expected to sign a bilateral agreement. Sargisian was welcomed at Larnaca airport by defence minister Socratis Hasikos and National Guard Commander Evangelos Florakis.
 TailerAgeing British pop legend Cliff Richard may be 61, but he still has enough pulling power to convince two middle-aged women to queue for over a week in a car for tickets to his forthcoming UK tour.
The Times reported that Judy Lawson, 48, and Shirley Downton, 46, are spending eight nights in a blanket-stuffed car in the southern English town of Bournemouth to make sure of front-row seats at Richard's first British tour in 10 years.
The pair have seen Sir Cliff in action more than 2,000 times between them already. They take turns to walk around shops during the day and pay to use shower facilities at a local swimming pool.
The veteran bachelor boy's manager Bill Latham praised the women's tenacity.
He said many of Sir Cliffs' fans are not young, but they show such extreme devotion, especially in cold weather.
 WeatherIt will be mainly fine this afternoon, with patchy clouds. Winds will be moderate southeasterly to southwesterly, three to four beaufort, over slight seas. Tonight it will continue to be mainly fine, with thin mist forming in some areas. Winds will be light northwesterly to northeasterly two to three beaufort, over slight seas. Temperaratures will fall to eight degrees inland and on the coast and five on the mountains.