|Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 03-03-31
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 Iraq BaghdadA U.S. cruise missile today struck Iraq's Information Ministry and other blasts hit a palace used by President Saddam Hussein's son and a telephone exchange as the air assault on Baghdad entered its 12th day.
Iraq's domestic state television, used by Saddam Hussein to address the nation, was off the air for a few hours because of bomb damage.
Progammes resumed at noon, four hours later than usual, showing singers dressed as soldiers waving assault rifles and singing songs in praise of President Saddam Hussein.
It was the second attack in three days on Iraq's official information headquarters. The blasts also triggered a fire near to the ministry complex and smoke and dust billowed high into the night sky and fire fighters rushed to try to tame the blaze.
At daybreak several hours later, two more explosions reverberated through central Baghdad, hitting the presidential palace used by Qusay Hussein, Saddam's powerful son.
Qusay commands Saddam's elite Republican Guard.
His compound on the western bank of the river Tigris was last targeted last night and was hit by several missiles in the first days of the U.S.-led war to overthrow Saddam, which started on March 20.
The raids also scored two direct hits on the city centre telephone exchange, which was also bombed in the 1991 Gulf War and later rebuilt.
There are about 20 exchanges in Baghdad, but making a telephone call is already almost impossible without resort to satellite communications.
U.S. and British forces also mounted a sustained series of bombings on the city outskirts where Republican Guard units are believed to be dug in to defend the capital.
President George W. Bush has said that U.S.-led forces have advanced to about 80 kilometers south of the city.
The raids on Baghdad have increased in intensity over the past 48 hours.
 Iraq battleU.S. troops battled Iraqi forces on a front line about 110 kilometers south of Baghdad, in a fierce clash in which U.S. forces said many Iraqis and at least one American died.
The U.S. troops called in fighter jets with laser-guided bombs and used tanks, helicopters and artillery against the Iraqi positions near the town of Imam Aiyub on the east bank of the Euphrates.
A Reuters correspondent travelling with the U.S. troops said it was apparently the northernmost advance by U.S.-led ground forces towards the capital along the road on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.
Today's death raised the U.S. toll to at least 46 with another 17 missing.
British Tornado jets and U.S. Navy F-14s were called in to drop laser-guided bombs anti-aircraft guns and tanks.
The battle was about 20 kilometers from the ancient site of Babylon, famed for its Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
U.S. Marines also launched a dawn raid on Shatra, north of Nassiriya, targeting "Chemical Ali" and other senior Iraqi officials they believe are directing guerrilla attacks.
Hundreds of U.S. Marines began also began scouring the outskirts of of Nassiriya block by block on Monday to weed out pockets of Iraqi resistance in what military sources said was a change of tactic.
In northern Iraq, U.S. aircraft continued to bomb targets in Iraqi government-held territory and U.S. and British special forces in the Kurdish-run zone scouted Iraqi positions.
 Rumsfeld riftMeanwhile, facing scrutiny over a war plan that involves far fewer troops than the number used in the 1991 Gulf War to end Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, Rumsfeld denied reports he rejected advice from Pentagon planners for substantially more men and armour.
Rumsfeld would not say when the war would be won, but one of his closest civilian advisers, Richard Perle, said the campaign could be shorter than the 1991 Gulf War, which saw 38 days of air strikes followed by a 100-hour ground war.
However, U.S. public expectations of a quick and easy war in Iraq, fuelled by comments by Perle and others, have faded. A poll on Sunday said 55 percent of Americans felt the government had been too optimistic.
A British survey published today showed support for the war had fallen for the first time since it began and revealed a growing feeling both that the conflict would take longer than initially expected and that the campaign was not going well.
The prospect of a drawn-out war that could hurt a fragile recovery in the global economy helped drive down the dollar and Asian shares, while oil prices rose slightly and safe-haven investments like gold and bonds gained.
General Richard Myers, head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted the campaign was on track, with U.S. and British forces already in control of 40 percent of Iraq, but he signalled there would be no swift ground assault on Baghdad.
 British GeneralBritish forces today retracted a claim they had captured an Iraqi general in clashes with paramilitaries south of Iraq's second city Basra on Sunday.
A british military spokesman at war headquarters in Qatar, said that he was misidentified as a general.
Qatar-based satellite television channel al-Jazeera later quoted Lieutenant-General Walid Hamid Tawfiq, an Iraqi field commander in the Basra region, as denying that a general had been captured and a colonel killed.
British forces have surrounded Basra, Iraq's second city of 1.5 million people, but have not entered it, hoping it can be taken without the need to fight street by street.
Fighting has disrupted food and electricity supplies and forced many civilians to flee the city.
With operations around Basra looking like a rehearsal for the battle for Baghdad, correspondents with British Royal Marine Commandos said that fierce fighting yesterday appeared to indicate a shift in tactics towards the city.
 Cyprus EmbassyAn attacker threw a petrol bomb at the U.S. embassy in Nicosia, at dawn but no damage was caused and police said they were questioning a suspect.
According to a police spokesman The suspect threw the petrol bomb at a wall of the embassy compound from a distance.
An embassy spokesman said no staff were injured and no damage was caused to embassy property.
Reports said the suspect was around 25.
Yesterday, dozens of anti-war demonstrators sealed off a British airbase on the southern coast of the island and pelted its entrance with stones and eggs.
The facility is part of the supply chain for British and U.S. troops attacking Iraq.
 National CouncilIn other local news, The National Council will convene on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, in light of the failure of settlement talks at the Hague and the discussion of the problem at the Security Council nect week. The convening of the Council was announced by government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides. Later today or tomorrow the report of the Secretary General on efforts to achieve a settlement is expected to be made public.
 Erdogan CyprusTurkish prime minister Recep Tayip Erdogan claimed that the solution of the Cyprus issue, muse be based on the principle of the two sovereign states, in line, with the realities, as he said, in Cyprus. Speaking before the Turkish parliament, Erdogan reiterated his country's will to solve the Cyprus problem, which, he added, is going through a difficult phase.
 Press occupiedMeanwhile, in the occupied territories, the Turkish cypriot leadership seems to be panicking over the rising tide of reaction by the people, to the lack of a settlement. According to the Turkish cypriot daily Kiprisli, efforts by the occupation regime to stop protests rallies and strikes, have become a daily phenomenon. The paperr says that the so called Turkish cypriot authorities are also attempting to silence the press and also postpone the upcoming elections in the occupied territories.
 Cse todayIt was a bleak day for the Cyprus stock exchange, with the General Price Index, closing with a two point two percent drop, on the weeks' first meeting, at 81 units. The volume of trading reached a mere four hundred and sixty thousand pounds.
 TailerAnd finally, on a lighter note, Call it the ultimate blind date.
The latest fad to hit New York City's singles scene is "Dinner in the Dark."
Imagine a gourmet four-course meal with champagne and fine wine -- served and eaten entirely in darkness. Only the waiters, wearing night-vision goggles, can see what's going on.
Promoters promise the dinner is intimate and diners lose their inhibitions in the pitch black, making it a great way to meet people.
"Dinner in the Dark" began innocuously enough. Thirty or so patrons, who paid 89 dollars apiece, gathered in a downtown restaurant, sipping cocktails.
Then, as soon as the diners were seated with the lights out, unable to see anyone or anything, the supposedly sophisticated New Yorkers somehow became anything but.
The dinner erupted into a melee of shouting patrons, crashing glassware and flying slices of bread. As plates shattered, diners burst into rounds of adolescent cheering.
 WeatherIt will be cloudy this afternoon, with the possibility of isolated showers. Winds will be light to moderate sea breezes force three to four, over slight seas. Temperatures will rise to 19 degrees inland and on the coasts and nine on the mountains. Tonight it will be mainly fine, with patchy clouds. Winds will be light northwesterly to northeasterly, force two to three, over calm to slight seas. Temperatures will fall to seven degrees inland, nine on the coasts and two on the mountains.