|Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 04-05-11
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HeadlinesHouse Speaker Demetris Christofias doesn't think a new Cyprus settlement drive is coming any time soon,
But Foreign Minister George Iacovou expects the EU to take charge by the end of the year,
Disy chief Nicos Anastasiades accused the government of lacking vision in countering the negative fallout from the referendum vote,
It will be relatively smooth sailing for the tourism sector for this year at least,
AND Amnesty International accused British soldiers of killing civilians.
 Demetris ChristofiasHouse Speaker Demetris Christofias said he doesn't expect any new UN-led initiative to solve the Cyprus issue.
Speaking at Larnaca airport before his departure for Athens, Mr. Christofias said cold, hard reason must prevail to counter strong international reaction to the referendum vote and to explain Greek Cypriot positions.
He said all eyes are now focused on the UN Secretary General's report on Cyprus.
Mr. Christofias said Akel's positions are widely accepted by President Papadopoulos as well as by a significant portion of the National Council.
He also dismissed suggestions that his visit to Athens for contants is any sort of attempt to sidestep the authority of the President.
The House Speaker said that during Glafcos Clerides' tenure as President of the Republic, he made more than a half-dozen similar trips to the Greek capital without ever being accused of sidestepping him.
Referring to Mehmet Ali Talat, Mr. Christofias said plans are in the works for future meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader.
Mr. Christofias said what is at stake is a Cyprus solution that best serves the interests of both communities and not those of third countries.
He added that diplomatic attempts by one side to paint the other into a corner would be pointless.
 George IacovouForeign Minister George Iacovou said that European Union interest to resolve the Cyprus issue will peak before the end of this year.
Mr. Iacovou told CyBC radio from Sweden that the Cyprus issue will come up every time relations between Turkey and the bloc are discussed.
The Foreign Minister said the Cyprus issue is now an EU problem and will concern the bloc more and more as time goes by because it doesn't want to leave its problems unresolved.
He said the EU's involvement is inevitable, but will not supercede the role of the UN Secretary General.
Mr. Iacovou didn't rule out joint action between the EU and the UN.
 Nicos AnastasiadesDisy leader Nicos Anastasiades accused the government of having neither the vision, nor a specific plan of action to counter the negative consequences from the Greek Cypriot no at the referendum.
Mr. Anastasiades told CyBC radio that he doesn't take spiteful pleasure from the referendum's negative fallout, but is deeply concerned over the government's shortcommings which are being paid by ordinary citizens.
He said Disy has forged a firm strategy and is ready to work together with all those whose goal is to reunify the island through necessary improvements to security issues.
Mr. Anastasiades said his party will hold contacts with EU officials and tour other European countries to lessen the blow from the referendum result.
 Petrol pricesHigh crude prices on the world market, combined with a strong US dollar relative to the Cyprus pound are expected lead to higher prices at the petrol pumps.
Commerce Minister George Lillikas told CyBC that consumers will have to shoulder some of burden, but the exact price increase hasn't been calculated yet.
He said a meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday to evaluate the current situation and take decisions that would least affect the economy.
 Lillikas-tourismDespite some difficulties ahead, tourism flow to the island will not be hit hard - at least, not this year.
Commerce Minister George Lillikas told CyBC radio that a wide-ranging meeting with officials reached the conclusion that the island's tourism is safe for the time being.
Officials discussed pro-active measures the government will take to protect the vital sector.
They also decided to set up a team of experts to study the possible fallout from EU accession, as well as taking full advantage of new opportunities.
Mr. Lillikas said there are no thoughts of changing course from the government's strategic plan which aimed at upgrading the island's tourism product.
Referring to reports that foreign investors are are building hotels in the Turkish-held north, Mr. Lillikas urged calm, saying that real competition is coming from neighbouring countries and not the north.
 Yiannakis MatsisFormer Disy leader Yiannakis Matsis hinted that he will throw his hat in the ring for Europarliament elections.
But it's unclear with which party or political group he will chose to run under.
Mr. Matsis told CyBC radio that he has already made up his mind and will announce his decisions tomorrow.
He said although he decided to drop out of politics, he feels that Cyprus still faces many hurdles ahead and that his experience with EU affairs will help to overturn the negative climate within the European parliament.
 Oil spillThe government has imposed a 10,000 pound fine on the company which owns the ship Gluxberg that spilled around 40 cubic metres of oil off the Limassol coast.
The ship apparently crashed into the Limassol port's breakwater which tore a whole into its side, resulting in the oil spill.
The Fisheries and Oceonographic department, in coordination with the Ports Authority is in contact with the ship's insurance company to cover the costs of clean-up efforts.
The spilled fuel has been pumped out of the sea using specialised equipment.
Meanwhile, local authorities are already cleaning up two beaches where the oil washed ashore.
 Bomb threat arrestA 39-year-old man is in police custody after he allegedly phoned in a bogus bomb threat five days ago.
The suspect apparently admitted to calling a private TV station and Limassol police and threatening that a bomb would go off at the former Turkish hospital and that lives would be at risk.
He also said that a Greek flag and a written proclamation would be found at the place where the bomb was hidden.
Police found no explosive device, but did find the flag and what they said was an unintelligible note which referred to the April 24 referendum.
 Iraq-abuseAmnesty International accused British soldiers in Iraq of killing civilians who posed no apparent threat.
The human rights group said in a report that Britain was undermining the rule of law in Iraq by failing to investigate properly the killings of up to 37 civilians over the past year, including an eight-year-old girl.
The report piled more pressure on the British government as Washington and London sought to limit fallout from a prisoner abuse scandal after a leaked report said the International Red Cross alerted them months ago to cases of mistreatment.
The scandal has prompted growing calls that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should resign, but President George W. Bush gave Rumsfeld a resounding vote of support yesterday.
The affair is taking a political toll on both Mr. Bush and his British ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair. Latest opinion polls showed public support slumping for both men.
 MideastMore violence in the Middle East.
The Israeli military confirmed that six soldiers were killed this morning when their armoured vehicle was blown up by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
Information on the soldiers' deaths, coming during a major Israeli incursion into Gaza, was held back for several hours because of army censorship rules.
 Turkey-educationAnd finally, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said parliament would have the final say on a controversial higher education bill that has raised tension with the powerful military.
The Army General Staff fears the plan to relax curbs on students from religious vocational schools entering university will boost the influence of Islam in education.
The government is expected to use its large parliamentary majority to push the bill through the assembly later this week.
It denies the bill will undermine Turkey's secular order and says it has a mandate from its voters to overhaul higher education structures dating back to a 1980 military coup.
 WeatherMainly fine this afternoon with some cloudy periods.
Winds will be southwesterly to westerly moderate to strong, force 4 to 6.
Seas will be slight with temperatures reaching 30 degrees inland, 26 on the southern and eastern coasts, 24 in the west and 19 in the mountains.
More fine conditions tonight with the possibility of fog and low cloud in some areas.
Winds will be westerly to northwesterly light to moderate, force 3 to 4, with slight seas.
Temperatures will drop to 14 degrees inland, 16 on the coasts and 10 in the highest mountains.
A reminder that the fire hazard is great in all forest areas.