|Monday, 26 February 2024
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 02-09-10
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINESThe US voices its strong support of the UN Secretary-General's good offices mission as regards the Cyprus Issue;
September 11th tomorrow, a year to the day since the horrific attacks against the US;
The Cyprus Insurance Companies Association protests a Competition Commission ruling;
An Indian luxury train crashes, leaving at least 50 dead in its wake;
The death toll from the heavy floods which have inundated southern France reaches 17;
Being a world-famous naturalist is not all misty mountains and sandy beaches.
 USA CYPRUSThe United States strongly support the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General as regards the Cyprus Issue, and also underwrite Kofi Annan's plea to the leaders of the two sides involved in the dispute to realise the pressing nature of the situation and work hand-in-hand with his Special Advisor, Alvaro deSoto, in order to achieve the necessary progress prior to their next 3-way meeting, called for the first week of October in New York.
The US position was expressed by a State Department Spokesman, after being called upon to comment on the results of last Friday's Paris meeting among the UN Secretary-General, President of the Republic Glafkos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
On Thursday meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Yiorgos Papandreou is scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Shukru Sina Gurel, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Reliable sources report that the their talks will focus on the Cyprus Issue and Turkey's European prospects.
In a parallel development, Alvaro deSoto met yesterday in Brussels with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunther Verheugen, whom he briefed on the results of the Paris meeting.
 SEPT11-CYPRUSTomorrow marks a year to the day since the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, a day which sent shock waves around the world.
Both in the US as well as in other countries around the world, commemorations have been planned in rememberance of the victims and the tragic events which marked an admittedly black day in the history of mankind.
In Nicosia, the US Embassy will be marking the anniversary with a special gathering at its premises. Attending the event will be President of the Republic Glafkos Clerides, who will also lay a wreath in memory of the victims.
CyBC meanwhile has drawn up special programming to mark tomorrow's anniversary. At 5-past-9 tonight, our First Television Channel will be showing the first 1-hour part of a documentary giving a minute-by-minute account of the attacks, with the second part to be broadcast at the same time tomorrow evening. Also tomorrow, our First Channel's "Proektaseis" programme will be focusing on the tragic events and their repercussions, while a 75-minute documentary titled "September 11th 2001", filmed by two French cameramen and narrated by Robert deNiro will be shown on Friday night at 9 o'clock.
 ANNAN SEPT11In HIS message on the September 11th anniversary, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls for tomorrow to be a day for remembering the spirit of unity which prevailed throughout the world in the face of the previously-unimaginable horror.
Kofi Annan goes on to mention that there could have been no greater hybris to the spirit and goals of the United Nations Organisation than the September 11th attacks, and further voices the wish that the memory of all those lost on that day contributes to the creation of a better, more just and more peaceful world.
 US WARNINGThe US Department of State yesterday issued a Worldwide Caution effective until October 31st to all American citizens, alerting them to the need of remaining especially vigilant during the period around the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, noting that "There is a continuing threat of terrorist actions which may target civilians and include suicide operations."
Furthermore, the announcement's third paragraph reads as follows: "US Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time to review their security posture and ensure its adequacy. In those instances, US Embassies and Consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to American citizens. Americans are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest American Embassy or Consulate."
The announcement also notes that Consular Information Program documents, including credible threat information, are available on the Internet at <http://travel.state.gov>. In addition, recorded information can be obtained by calling the Department of State in Washington DC at 202-647-5225, or by automated telefax by dialing 202-647-3000 from their fax machine.
The website, once again, is <http://travel.state.gov>, while information can also be obtained by calling 202-647-5225 or faxing 202-647-3000.
 INSURANCEA ruling issued yesterday by Cyprus' Competition Commission, dismantling a private health insurance cartel and fining its members a total of 200-thousand pounds for allegedly breaching two laws and abusing its dominant market position, has led to uncertainty over future policies.
Commenting on the decision, Insurance Association Health and Accidents Committee Chairman Dimis Michaelides, said that this will affect policyholders' interests and also warned that its implementation will inevitably lead to a rise in premiums. Speaking on our Third Radio Channel, he further questioned the correctness of the decision, adding that the Association plans to file an appeal with the Supreme Court.
On the government's side, Commission Chairman Christodoulos Tselepos stood fast by the decision, noting that while this annuls the insurance companies' contracts, it does not affect the 50-thousand or so coverage plans taken out by, according to available figures, some 100-thousand people.
The 12 companies named in the decision, in apphabetical order, are Alico, Aspis Pronoia, Atlantic, Bupa International, Ethniki, Eurolife, General Insurance, Interlife, Laiki Group, Liberty Life, Universal and Med Net.
 INDIA TRAIN CRASHIn India, a luxury express train jumped the tracks of a river bridge overnight, killing at least 50 people in what a minister and rail officials described as an act of sabotage. The hypothesis however was played down by Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, also the country's interior minister.
The air-conditioned Rajdhani Express, heading to New Delhi from the eastern city of Calcutta, crashed late last night near the town of Gaya in the eastern state of Bihar, an area where Maoist rebels are active.
A railway spokesman told Reuters he expected the death toll to rise, echoing a statement by India's Junior Minister for Railways, who earlier in the day said that this could reach 100.
 FRENCH FLOODSFrench Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin toured the flood-stricken southeast of the country today, pledging state aid for the region, as the death toll from violent storms and flooding rose to 17.
Storms overnight compounded damage wrought by high winds and heavy rain on Sunday night, and officials said the death toll of 17 could rise. Eleven people were also reported missing.
Raffarin flew by helicopter to the town of Sommieres, west of the southern city of Nimes, after many towns in the area became almost inaccessible by car, with floods submerging roads.
Today meanwhile was marked by an improvement in weather conditions, with high-speed TGV trains running between Paris and Marseilles resuming normal service, even though the service between Nimes and Montpellier remained suspended, along with that between Montpellier and Marseille.
 TAILERFilming wildlife may appear wonderfully romantic and interesting, but as world-famous naturalist David Attenborough said yesterday, it's not all sandy beaches and misty mountains.
Following up the successes of series like "Life on Earth" and the more recent "Blue Planet", the 76-year-old Briton is just finishing off a series with the catch-all title "Life of Mammals".
The series of ten 1-hour films traces the evolution of mammals from the humble, dinosaur-era hedgehog all the way through to the ascent of man.
During filming, Attenborough visited a temple in northern India which worships rats, where he had to sit doing an interview while hundreds of rats clambered over his interviewee, as well as trying to climb his own chair.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual festival organised by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, he said, in a direct quote, "If there is one animal in the whole animal kingdom I would rather not deal with, it is the rat".
And he added, with a shudder, "I found it a bit difficult to conduct the interview in the knowledge there were 30 rats down there trying to climb up my trouser legs".
Who wouldn't one wonders!
 WEATHERGenerally fair conditions atr forecast for this afternoon, even though intermittent cloud cover will lead to the possibility of scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in areas. Winds will be moderate westerlies, 3-4BF, on slight seas, while temperatures are not expected to exceed 31C inland and in the south, 28C in the west, and 21C at higher altitudes.
Generally fair conditions are also forecast for this evening, with skies once again marked by passing cloud. Winds will abate to light northwesterlies, 2-3BF, on slight seas, while temperatures will drop to around 20C inland and in coastal regions, and 14C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.
A reminder that the fire hazard is extremely high in all forest areas.