|Saturday, 7 December 2019|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 04-02-02
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINES-- The National Council convened today in a critical meeting to determine the strategy that will be followed due to the intense mobility for the resumption of negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.
-- Cyprus Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou is currently visiting Dublin, at the invitation of his Irish counterpart Brian Cowen.
-- Pressure mounted on Britain's Tony Blair today to launch an independent probe into apparent intelligence failings over Iraq after Washington bowed to calls for an inquiry into the justification given for war.
-- A Palestinian militant who lost his legs and an arm to an Israeli tank shell a year ago battled soldiers who tried to arrest him today in a Gaza Strip raid that ended with him being killed along with three other gunmen.
And -- The strain of bird flu ravaging poultry farms across Asia and responsible for at least 12 deaths cannot spread easily between humans despite one suspected case in Vietnam, according to the World Health Organisation.
 NAT COUNCILThe National Council convened today in a critical meeting to determine the strategy that will be followed due to the intense mobility for the resumption of negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.
President Tassos Papadopoulos will inform party leaders and party representatives on his contacts in Brussels and his meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
According to press reports, during the meeting the views and approach of the government and those of the Democratic Party and the United Democrats were expected to be presented.
 IACOVOU IRELANDCyprus Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou is currently visiting Dublin, at the invitation of his Irish counterpart Brian Cowen.
Mr. Iacovou will be received today by Ireland's Prime Minister and President of the European Council Bertie Ahern and will hold consultations with Mr. Cowen.
 BRITAIN BLAIRPressure mounted on Britain's Tony Blair today to launch an independent probe into apparent intelligence failings over Iraq after Washington bowed to calls for an inquiry into the justification given for war.
Mr. Blair's main political opponent said a move, expected this week, by U.S. President George W. Bush to set up an independent commission on intelligence had left Blair with little choice.
Opposition Conservative Party leader Michael Howard told BBC radio that he believes it is quite clear that there does need to be an inquiry. He said he hoped the prime minister won't continue to be the odd man out and be isolated on this.
Mr. Howard plans to present a motion in parliament this week urging an inquiry while Blair faces a grilling by a powerful parliamentary committee tomorrow where questions about Iraq's banned weapons -- the primary reason he gave for war -- are sure to top the agenda.
 IRAQ US JAPANU.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage today lauded Japan's dispatch of troops to Iraq, but said Tokyo should consider removing self-imposed restraints that keep it from coming to the aid of allies when attacked.
The first soldiers of Japan's main contingent of ground troops are set to depart for Iraq tomorrow for reconstruction work in what could be the country's riskiest military deployment since World War Two.
Mr. Armitage told a news conference in Tokyo, where he will take part in security talks that Washington would welcome greater flexibility.
Japan's U.S.-drafted constitution has been interpreted to mean that its military -- which it calls its Self-Defence Forces -- is restricted to self-defence and cannot go to the aid of its allies if they are attacked.
The Iraq dispatch, which has deeply divided the nation, comes as politicians are increasingly calling for changes to the postwar constitution, including the war-renouncing Article Nine.
Armitage said the current interpretation of the constitution means Japan is technically unable to come to the aid of its allies if they are attacked, although the United States would defend Japan, which he said didn't "seem entirely reasonable".
 MIDEASTA Palestinian militant who lost his legs and an arm to an Israeli tank shell a year ago battled soldiers who tried to arrest him today in a Gaza Strip raid that ended with him being killed along with three other gunmen.
The incursion into Rafah refugee camp followed a rare raid into the West Bank town of Jericho yesterday in which Israeli troops killed a wanted militant. They also carried out weekend operations in Bethlehem to make arrests after a suicide bombing in Jerusalem killed 11 people.
The continued bloodshed appeared to crush any expectations that last week's visit to the region by a U.S. envoy would get Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table.
Witnesses said soldiers backed by tanks and helicopters entered Rafah before dawn under cover of heavy machinegun fire that drew an immediate response from Palestinian gunmen.
Two Palestinians, a gunman from the Islamic militant group Hamas and Mujdi al-Khatib, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades' top field commander in the camp, were killed in the exchange.
Troops then pulled up to the home of Yasser Abu al-Aesh, a senior local leader of the Islamic Jihad group who lost three of his limbs and four comrades a year ago when a tank shell hit his rocket-firing squad in Rafah. He belonged to another group, the Popular Resistance Committees, at the time.
The army said Aesh threw a grenade at the soldiers who came to arrest him and he was shot and killed. His brother, a gunman, was also killed in the confrontation.
David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, said the latest "search and arrest raids were necessary pre-emptive measures to prevent Palestinian terrorists from showing up on our doorstep".
 BIRDFLUThe strain of bird flu ravaging poultry farms across Asia and responsible for at least 12 deaths cannot spread easily between humans despite one suspected case in Vietnam, according to the World Health Organisation.
However the huge danger is that avian influenza could mate with human strains to form a much more deadly virus, the United Nations body said, evoking memories of a SARS epidemic last year that sowed fear across Asia and slowed economies.
Bjorn Melgaard, the WHO representative in Thailand, told a news conference that they did not think the current virus will mutate or change its properties to cause a very big outbreak.
He said it was not a very efficient virus in terms of infecting humans. However the risk is the creation of a new virus through the combination of the current avian virus with a human virus.
The WHO said yesterday two Vietnamese sisters may have caught bird flu while looking after their sick brother, who is believed to have fallen ill after coming into contact with chicken during preparations for his wedding party.
Another U.N. body, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, said bird flu was still on the rise, despite the slaughter of 45 million chickens in Asia, threatening the livelihoods of millions of poultry farmers across the continent.
Key chicken buyers, the European Union and Japan, have banned poultry imports from affected countries, where consumers are shunning the meat despite assurances that well cooked chicken is safe.
 SWEDEN WALLETA wallet lost in southern Sweden more than 40 years ago has been returned to its owner -- with her cash still in it.
Gulli Wihlborg was 18 when she dropped it while cycling in the town of Trelleborg in the summer of 1963.
The wallet contained 45.54 crowns -- a sum she said was half her monthly rent at the time -- receipts and photographs. Its equivalent in today's money is about 412 crowns or 56 dollar.
It arrived in the mail at her home of 25 years in the nearby city of Malmo with a handwritten note, saying:
"Dear Gulli, never give up hope. Here is the wallet you dropped on Ostersjogatan (a street) many years ago. Greetings from Trelleborg."
The sender remained unknown.
 LIMASSOL ROBBERYAn armed robber stole up to three thousand pounds this morning from a Cyprus Bank branch at the Amathounta area of Limassol.
The robbery took place just after eleven when an unknown hooded man, holding rifle, entered the bank and took whatever was available.
He then run out, jumped over a nearby wall and entered a vehicle and left in high speed.
 WEATHERThis afternoon it will be mainly clear with some passing cloud. Winds will be south-westerly light to moderate, three to four beaufort and the sea slight. Tempertures will rise to 16 C inland, 18 on the coasts and five over the mountains.
Tonight it will be mainly clear with some thin cloud. Winds will be variable light, two to three beaufort and the sea slight. Temperatures will fall to four degrees inland, six on the coasts and seven on the coasts and zero over the coasts. The depth of snow on Mt. Olympus is one metre and 30 cm and one metre and 20 over Troodos square.