|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 02-10-24
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINES-- Chechen separatists holding hundreds of Russians in a theatre will shoot their hostages if authorities do not pull the military out of Chechnya.
-- The group of about 40, including masked women strapped with explosives, burst into the theatre yesterday evening firing shots in the air and shouting "Stop the war in Chechnya".
-- European Union leaders start a summit today to bridge deep rifts over funding eastward enlargement which threaten to delay the conclusion of accession talks with 10 candidates hoping to join in 2004.
-- The Dutch parliament backed government plans to support European Union enlargement early today.
And, The Democratic Rally's Supreme Court decided to back the candidacy of Yiannakis Omirou for the Presidential elections of 2003.
 RUSSIA THEATREChechen separatists holding hundreds of Russians in a theatre will shoot their hostages if authorities do not pull the military out of Chechnya, one of the hostages was quoted as saying by Ekho Moskvy radio.
The Chechen guerrillas refused to free scores of Western hostages as previously agreed today because diplomats summoned to witness the release arrived too late.
A spokesman for the crisis cell handling the seizure of up to 700 people in a Moscow theatre said they had an arrangement that the foreigners would be released after embassy representatives got involved in negotiations. All the conditions had been met.
The representatives arrived at the operations centre but did not manage to get there on time and the agreement was broken.
The group of about 40, including masked women strapped with explosives, burst into the theatre yesterday evening firing shots in the air and shouting "Stop the war in Chechnya". They demanded Russia pull its troops out of their Muslim homeland.
The spectacular attack presented Vladimir Putin, who called off a foreign trip to tackle the crisis, with his sternest test since becoming president more than two years ago.
The president has taken an uncompromising stand on the conflict in Chechnya on Russia's southern fringes, where the Kremlin has twice launched military pushes to crush separatists.
The hostages included a number of Westerners from Australia, Austria, Britain, Germany and the United States.
An official said the group described themselves as a suicide death squad, or "smertniki". Police said there were up to 700 people still in the theatre where they had been watching a hit musical.
A blast from the direction of the theatre set nerves jangling. It was not immediately clear what had caused it.
 EU SUMMIT BRUSSELSEuropean Union leaders start a summit today to bridge deep rifts over funding eastward enlargement which threaten to delay the conclusion of accession talks with 10 candidates hoping to join in 2004.
A row between Germany and France over funding farm and regional subsidies for ex-communist countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic threatens plans to complete negotiations by a mid-December deadline.
Denmark, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, rejected French and German suggestions that the bloc still had time beyond the summit to negotiate a financial deal.
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the the summit will be crucial to the EU's ambition of completing negotiations...by the end of this year.
He anticipated "tough and difficult negotiations" but said he remained optimistic and vowed to keep EU leaders in Brussels as long as necessary to clinch a deal.
The candidates and the EU's executive Commission, argue the sums at stake are minuscule compared to the historic benefits of uniting Europe after the fall of communism in 1989.
The states hoping to join in 2004 are Poland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania are to join later.
 DUTCH EUThe Dutch parliament backed government plans to support European Union enlargement early today only hours ahead of a key summit in Brussels set to pave the way for 10 countries to join the bloc in 2004.
There had been concern that the collapse of the Dutch centre-right coalition last week might stall EU decisions on enlargement but the caretaker government got the green light to support the plan after securing majority support in parliament.
Outgoing Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende got backing to approve the admission of the 10 candidate countries at the Brussels summit in the early hours today after a marathon debate in the 150-seat parliament in the Hague.
The caretaker administration wants to approve the admission of 10 candidate countries, but to deny them a say in areas where they fail to meet EU standards. The Dutch have voiced concerns about shortcomings on food safety, crime and border controls.
 PRODI TURKEYEuropean Commission President Romano Prodi said today Turkey was not likely to be given a date for starting talks on European Union accession at the 15-nation bloc's Copenhagen summit in December.
The EU has said Turkey, the only Muslim candidate for membership, needs to improve its patchy human rights record before talks begin, and a recent European Commission report said Ankara does not yet fully meet EU conditions.
Mr. Prodi told a news conference the Commission, the EU's executive, was satisfied with laws passed in Turkey towards meeting the criteria but added that they needed to be put into practice.
The Commission President said that in the report we did say that Copenhagen criteria also require practical implementation at an administrative level of those rules and that was something which we have not yet seen happen.
 IRAQIraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said today a new U.S. draft resolution on Iraqi disarmament was akin to a declaration of war on both Baghdad and the United Nations.
Mr Sabri said the United States wants to create justifications for attacking Iraq with a new resolution and this draft resolution presented by the United States, which it amended for the worse, is an insult to the United Nations and to the international community.
He further said it was a flagrant violation of the United Nations and akin to war against the United Nations.
The United States introduced its revised text to the full U.N. Security Council on Wednesday in a significant push to move to a vote, possibly next week.
Russia immediately opposed the U.S. text and France raised strong reservations, but Britain said it would co-sponsor the draft, aimed at ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.
The text drops explicit authorisation for military action if Iraq does not comply with U.N. arms inspections but leaves the door open for war by declaring Iraq in "material breach" of U.N. resolutions and threatening "serious consequences.
 USA CRIME SHOOTINGMaryland State police confirmed today that two men had been taken into custody in connection with the investigation of the serial sniper blamed for 10 deaths in and around the U.S. capital.
Maryland State Police spokesman Maj. Greg Shipley said a passing motorist had alerted police after noticing two men sleeping in a car that matched a description given out a few hours earlier by the multi-agency task force investigating the sniper shootings.
 DISY OMIROUThe Democratic Rally Supreme Council decided to back the candidacy of Yiannakis Omirou last night with 299 members voting in favour and 13 against.
DISY President Nicos Anastasiades said the result gives an answer to those who doubted about the party's credibility and prestige.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides strongly criticised the Omirou choice, and talked about a possible defeat which will affect not only the Democratic Rally but also the Social Democrats.
 OMIROU REAXPresidential candidate, Yiannakis Omirou welcomed the DISY Supreme Council decision to support his candidacy and thanked the party members for trusting him.
In a written statement, Mr. Omirou said the decision constitutes a very important development in the pre-election stage and creates new prospects in the effort for unity.
 LYKOURGOS FREEGlobalsoft Manager, Lykoyrgos Kyprianou, was released today after being in custody in connection with a case of conspiracy to commit fraud and secure export licences.
CyBC has learnt that no charges have been brought against Mr. Kyprianou but Attorney-General Alecos Markides, who now has the case before him, will decide on how to further proceed.
 WEATHERThis afternoon, the weather will be mainly clear with cloud over the mountains. Winds will be south-easterly to south-westerly light, three beaufort and the sea slight. Temperatures will reach 28 C inland and on the south and east coast, 26 C on the west and 20 over the mountains.
Tonight, the weather will remain clear with thin high cloud. Winds will be north-westerly to north-easterly light, two to three beaufort and the sea slight. Temperatures will fall to 15 C inland, 16 C on the coasts and 12 over the mountains.
The fire hazard remains very high in all forest areas.