|Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 04-05-17
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINES-- A suicide car bomb killed the head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and at least eight other people today at a checkpoint outside the main Baghdad headquarters of the U.S.-led administration.
--Israel carried out air strikes on Palestinian faction targets in Gaza City today and sealed off Rafah refugee camp after saying it would raze hundreds of buildings to widen a border strip prone to militant attacks.
--AKEL Central Committee announced today its candidates for the European Parliament elections.
--Democratic Rally Parliamentary Spokesman Demetris Syllouris announced today his decision to resign from his post.
 IRAQ BLASTA suicide car bomb killed the head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and at least eight other people today at a checkpoint outside the main Baghdad headquarters of the U.S.-led administration.
Abdul Zahra Othman Mohammad, a Shi'ite council member also known as Izzedin Salim, had been waiting at a checkpoint to enter the "Green Zone" compound in Baghdad when the bomb went off.
The attack underlined the vulnerability of the U.S.-backed administration just six weeks before the occupiers are set to return sovereignty to Iraqis, though Iraq's foreign minister insisted the violence would not derail the political process.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hamed al-Bayati said Salim's car had been the last in a Governing Council convoy which included other council members, who were due to hold a meeting in the coalition compound, where the council has its headquarters.
Salim, who was the current holder of the rotating Governing Council presidency, was the second of the 25-member Council to be killed. In September gunmen assassinated Aqila al-Hashemi, one of three women on the council.
The checkpoint had been crowded with civilian cars and minibuses when the bomb was detonated. More than a dozen vehicles were destroyed by the blast, which melted the asphalt of the road and covered it in pools of blood.
 IRAQ EUEuropean Union foreign ministers were set today to condemn U.S. soldiers' abuse of prisoners, saying the actions were against international law, according to a draft text obtained by Reuters.
"The Council expressed its strongest condemnation of incidents involving the abuse and degradation of prisoners in Iraq by soldiers of the occupying forces," a draft statement said. "Such actions are contrary to international law."
Seven military police reservists have been charged after pictures showed grinning troops beside naked detainees piled atop one another and subjected to other humiliations.
 MIDEASTIsrael carried out air strikes on Palestinian faction targets in Gaza City today and sealed off Rafah refugee camp after saying it would raze hundreds of buildings to widen a border strip prone to militant attacks.
Shaken by ambushes that killed 13 soldiers in Gaza last week, the worst blow to Israeli forces since 2002, the army was preparing not only to flatten homes it believed were gun nests but possibly digging a moat to help block arms smugglers.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie appealed to top White House officials in talks in Berlin today to stop Israel's mass demolition plan in a Gaza refugee camp.
According to chief negotiator Saeb Ereket, Mr. Quire asked U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to immediately intervene to stop the catastrophe in Rafah.
But Israel's clampdown has drawn adverse criticism from its key U.S. ally as thousands of Palestinians could be made homeless, and from Palestinian officials contending that it contradicted Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to "disengage" from occupied Gaza.
U.N. relief officials said more than 1,000 Rafah refugees were already in the street after the army bulldozed about 80 homes in initial demolitions last week, temporarily halted by a Supreme Court injunction before it was lifted on Sunday.
The ruling panicked hundreds of Palestinians to flee homes near the "Philadelphi" buffer strip along Gaza's southern border with Egypt. Early today, Israeli tanks and troop carriers moved in to cut off access routes to Rafah.
Israeli helicopters fired missiles at an office of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement -- which includes a militant group involved in last week's ambushes -- and another faction in Gaza City in the north of the territory.
Medics said the Fatah building and offices of the Democratic Front were empty and there were no casualties in the missile strikes, the latest in a series since last week's ambushes.
 INDIA UPDATEIndian prime minster-elect Sonia Gandhi faced her first crisis today, before even taking power, when pivotal leftists refused to formally join her government and markets crashed on fears over economic policy.
Shares on the Bombay exchange plunged almost 16 percent -- the worst fall in its 129 years -- before trading was suspended a second time. They later recovered to about nine percent down, on top of heavy losses last week. The rupee also fell 0.8 percent today, despite central bank support.
The crash, including a big drop on Friday, has wiped billions of dollars off the value of India's listed companies. Hundreds of brokers and small investors protested outside the bourse on the day Mrs. Gandhi was due to visit the president to claim power.
Leftist parties, which hold more than 60 of the new parliament's 545 seats, decided not to formally join Mrs. Gandhi's Congress party and its allies in the coalition expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.
 AKEL CANDIDATESAKEL Central Committee announced today its candidates for the European Parliament elections.
They are: Adamos Adamou, deputy and doctor Despina Bebedeli, actress Neoklis Silikiotisd, head of the AKEL Education Department Kyriacos Triantafyllides, former Interior Ministry director general George Hadzigeorgiou, deputy and Titos Christofides, doctor.
AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias said nineteen members applied but the six were chosen in a secret ballot. The aims and aspirations of AKEL in the EU will be presented on Saturday during a press conference.
 DISY SYLLOURIS GONEDemocratic Rally Parliamentary Spokesman Demetris Syllouris announced today his decision to resign from his post.
Mr. Syllouris said the heavy climate which has been created due to the complete lack of unity in the party as well as the absence of any willingness to reflect on what is good for the people of Cyprus and DISY, do not allow him to participate in the party's leadership group.
He said he came to the decision after a lot of thought and intense negotiations with DISY members and voters.
Mr. Syllouris expressed the hope that the party's leadership will realise that its resignation is required so that a new leadership will be able to effectively contribute in solving the island's problems and making use of all new prospects for Cyprus.
 KARAMANLIS USAGreek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis begins an official visit to the United States from Monday until Friday.
The talks he will have with President George W. Bush and other senior U.S. officials will include bilateral relations, the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations, Turkey's European prospects and the major international and regional matters. The Olympic Games will also be on the agenda of the talks.
The Greek prime minister will also meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, the president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, the president of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and speak at the Council of Foreign Relations.
 IACOVOU BRUSSELSThe issue of the EU relations with the Turkish Cypriots will become clear by the end of June, said Foreign Minister George Iacovou.
Speaking to CyBC from Brussels, Mr. Iacovou said that the EU Council of Ministers has asked the European Commission to examine ways to help Turkish Cypriots come out of the isolation.
The issue, he added, is being examined on an official level. Commenting on reports that the EU and the US are working on a formula for direct trade exchange with the occupied areas, Mr. Iacovou said such action would be contrary to the EU regulation for the movement of persons and goods on the Green Line.
 WEATHERThis afternoon it will be mainly clear with increased local cloud with isolated rain over the mountains. Winds will be south-westerly to westerly light to moderate, three to four beaufort and locally on the south coast reaching five beaufort. The sea will be slight to moderate in windward coastal areas. Temperatures will reach 26 C inland, 25 C on the south and east coast, 23 C on the west and 18 over the mountains.
Tonight it will be mainly clear with thin cloud in the higher atmosphere. Winds will be north-westerly to north-easterly light, two to three beaufort and the sea calm to slight. Temperatures will fall to 10 C inland, 13 C on the coasts and eight over the mountains. The fire hazard remains very high in all forest areas.