|Wednesday, 28 February 2024
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 03-08-28
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINES-- Prime Minister Tony Blair faces his biggest test today as he takes the stand at an inquiry into the death of a British weapons expert who became entangled in a furious row over the Iraq war.
-- Meanwhile, a crowd of Iraqis fired rocket-propelled grenades and guns at a convoy of British soldiers in the south of the country, killing one and wounding another.
--The United States followed up a rare conversation with North Korea by ruling out formal bilateral meetings demanded by Pyongyang as six-nation talks to end a 10-month nuclear crisis stretched into a second day today.
-- Greek National Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, will attend the military parade on October 1st on the occassion of the Independence anniversary of Cyprus.
 BLAIRPrime Minister Tony Blair faces his biggest test today as he takes the stand at an inquiry into the death of a British weapons expert who became entangled in a furious row over the Iraq war.
With his personal trust ratings plunging, Mr. Blair will become only the second prime minister to appear before a judicial inquiry.
The prospect of the premier's day in court attracted scores of Britons to the Royal Courts of Justice in London in the hope of obtaining one of the few public seats available.
Many had already been queuing for hours by early today and some had even set up roadside tents for the long haul.
Mr. Blair has faced a crisis of public confidence since weapons expert David Kelly killed himself after being named as the source for a journalist's report that said politicians hyped intelligence to justify an unpopular war against Iraq.
The Prime Minister has mainly stayed silent while the inquiry has been running. In his few comments, he has denied blame for dragging Kelly into the public eye.
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told the inquiry on Wednesday that a decision to have Kelly testify in parliament days before he killed himself was taken with Mr. Blair's approval.
 IRAQA crowd of Iraqis fired rocket-propelled grenades and guns at a convoy of British soldiers in the south of the country, killing one and wounding another.
The death brought to 11 the number of British soldiers killed in action since May 1, when major combat was declared over in the U.S.-led war that ousted Saddam Hussein. Sixty-four U.S. soldiers have died from hostile fire over the same period.
News of the soldier's death came just a couple of hours before British Prime Minister Tony Blair was to appear before an inquiry into the death of a weapons expert at the centre of a row over whether Mr. Blair exaggerated the case for war in Iraq.
Postwar guerrilla violence and major attacks such as last week's bombing of the U.N. office in Baghdad have also sparked debate on whether Washington and its allies have enough troops on the ground with the right training to pacify Iraq.
Despite misgivings, the United States and Britain intend to explore a U.N. resolution next week that would encourage nations to send troops, police trainers and money for the reconstruction of Iraq, diplomats said on Wednesday.
The latest attack happened when a British convoy from the First Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers was returning from an arrest operation last night.
 AUSTRALIA GREECEAustralia issued new travel advisories for Greece and Germany today, containing general warnings to its citizens to be alert to their personal security in both countries.
Australia has never issued travel advisories for Greece or Germany before but has angered several of its Asian neighbours with a series of warnings and bulletins in the past two years.
The advisories, issued on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website (www.dfat.gov.au), warn Australians in Greece and Germany "to be alert to their own security and monitor developments that might affect their safety".
Officials have said the new advisories are not related to specific security issues or threats in either country and are similar to recent advisories issued for France, Italy and Spain.
The advisory for Greece warns Australian travellers that public demonstrations sometimes become violent and that tourists in Greece have been victims of sexual assault and petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and bag-snatching.
No specific issues are mentioned on the advisory for Germany, apart from "the ongoing risk of terrorist attacks worldwide".
Australia's conservative government has issued a blizzard of travel warnings since 88 Australians were among 202 people killed in bomb attacks on nightclubs in the Indonesian resort island of Bali last October.
 USA KOREAThe United States followed up a rare conversation with North Korea by ruling out formal bilateral meetings demanded by Pyongyang as six-nation talks to end a 10-month nuclear crisis stretched into a second day today.
Negotiators from among the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, Japan and host China would hold a series of "one on one" meetings in the afternoon, delegation sources said. It was not clear if a U.S.-North Korea meeting would be one of those.
After months of threats and rhetoric, the United States and North Korea joined the four Asian nations for three days of negotiations on the isolated state's nuclear programme, just how far it has progressed and whether it can be reversed.
The talks are seen as just the first in a series of tough rounds of negotiation based on agreement among the five other parties that Pyongyang must not develop nuclear weapons.
Even agreement to meet again would likely be hailed as a sign of success in handling Pyongyang's half-declared desire to become a nuclear power that triggered the standoff.
 JAPAN N.KOREAJapan and North Korea held bilateral talks today in Beijing on the sidelines of negotiations to end the 10-month nuclear crisis between Pyongyang and Washington.
Japan's top government spokesman, Yasuo Fukuda, said in Tokyo that Japan called for resolving the nuclear issue and a speedy return of the families of the Japanese abducted by Pyongyang decades ago.
The row over Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea is an emotive issue for Japan, where anti-North Korean sentiment has risen since Pyongyang said last September it kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s and used them to train spies.
Five abductees have since returned, but their seven North Korean-born children remain in the communist state.
 PAPANTONIOU CYPRUSGreek National Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, will attend the military parade on October 1st on the occassion of the Independence anniversary of Cyprus.
Defence Minister Kyriakos Mavronicolas said that during his visit, Mr. Papantoniou will hold talks at the Defence Ministry as well as meetings with government officials and political parties.
 DEFENCE NIKIFOROSThe possibility of postponing the annual military exercise Nikiforos remaions open. Defence Minister Kyriacos Mavronicolas said the exercise will depend on developments on the Cyprus problem.
The minister said our actions should convey the message that we are ready not only to come forward to the negotiating table but also to solve the Cyprus problem.
However, he said if the situation remains as it is, then the exercise will take place, adding that the final decision rests with the government.
 DISY PROPOSALThe Democratic Rally will submit today a bill penalising exchanges with the so called "authorities" of the Denktash regime.
The decision was taken last night during a meeting of the party's Political bureau.
Deputy and Justice Commissioner for DISY, Ionas Nicolaou told CyBC that the bill will make criminal offence any cooperation with instruments of the illegal regime which endagers the interests of the citizens and undermines the law and order.
He stressed however that no one will be accused of carrying out a criminal offence if he or she were forced to associate with the illegal regime, for instance, in the case ofthose who visit the occupied areas and the enclaved.
 WEATHERToday, the weather will be mainly clear with some local cloud. Winds will be south-westerly to north-westerly moderate, four beaufort and locally strong, five beaufort. The sea will be slight to moderate in windward areas.
Temperatures will reach 35 C inland, 32 C on the south coast,, 30 on the west and 28 over the mountains.
Tonight, the weather will remain clear but thin mist and low cloud form locally. Winds will be south-westerly to north-westerly light to moderate, three to four beaufort, gradually declinging to two to three beaufort.
The sea will be calm to slight. Temperatures will fall to 21 C inland and on the west coast, 23 over the south and 20 over the mountains.
The fire hazard remains extremely high in all forest areas.