|Wednesday, 20 February 2019|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 05-08-31
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINES-- Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari declared three days of mourning after at least 640 people died in a stampede on a bridge in Baghdad today, state television reported.
--Hellish scenes of death, damage, and chaos wracked the U.S. Gulf Coast today as overwhelmed authorities tried to rescue the living and count the dead amid the destruction left by powerful Hurricane Katrina.
-- Mihalakis Sarris has been appointed to the post of Finance Minister, to replace Makis Keravnos who resigned yesterday to take up a senior post at the Hellenic Bank.
And --The UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has announced that effective 12.30 today, following agreement by the two sides, the Astromeritis-Zodhia crossing point will open.
 IRAQIraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari declared three days of mourning after at least 640 people died in a stampede on a bridge in Baghdad today, state television reported.
"The Prime Minister has announced three days of mourning for the victims of this tragedy," a television announcer said, reading a statement from Jaafari.
Earlier at least seven people were killed in three separate mortar attacks on the crowd as several thousand people marched to the Kadhimiya mosque in the old district of north Baghdad for a religious ceremony.
Tensions have been running high between the main religious and ethnic communities ahead of a referendum on a divisive new constitution for the post-Saddam Hussein era.
Parliament completed work on a draft constitution on Sunday and it must be approved by a popular mandate before Oct. 15 to come into force.
 CELEBRATIONSThe crowd was celebrating the martyrdom of Musa Al-Kadhim, a revered religious figure among Shi'ites.
Explosions were heard across Baghdad this morning.
Despite the draft constitution, there has been no sign of an easing in the insurgency waged by Sunni Muslims, dominant under Saddam, and international guerrillas inspired by Osama bin Laden.
The U.S.-led coalition, which invaded Iraq in March 2003, has been battling insurgents while Iraqis have tried to form a new post-Saddam constitution and government.
 WEATHER KATRINAHellish scenes of death, damage, and chaos wracked the U.S. Gulf Coast today as overwhelmed authorities tried to rescue the living and count the dead amid the destruction left by powerful Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans was filling with water after an initial attempt to stop a leaking levee failed, while police fought a losing battle to stop widespread looting in the stricken city.
In Mississippi, officials confirmed that at least 100 people had died in the killer storm and said the death toll was almost certain to go much higher.
"We're just estimating, but the number could go double or triple from what we're talking about now," a civil defense director told the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
Biloxi, Mississippi spokesman Vincent Creel earlier told Reuters of the death toll: "It's going to be in the hundreds."
Louisiana officials said 3,000 people had been rescued, but many more were waiting to be picked up by rescuers in boats who cruised up and down flooded streets or helicopters buzzing overhead.
Katrina struck Louisiana on Monday with 224 kph winds, while slamming into the coasts of neighboring Mississippi, Alabama and western Florida.
The historic French Quarter, the hallmark of New Orleans and the main draw for its huge tourist industry, should escape with only minor flooding because it sits five feet above sea level, officials added.
The floods knocked out electricity, contaminated the city water supply and cut off most highway routes into New Orleans.
A million people fled before Katrina arrived, but those who stayed were running out of food and water.
 RUSSIA BESLANBeslan's bereaved mothers will tell Russian President Vladimir Putin he is to blame for the death of their children and that unless lessons are learned from official blundering the tragedy could be repeated.
Susanna Dudiyeva, whose 12-year-old son Zaurbek was among 331 people, half of them children, killed after Chechen rebels seized their school in southern Russia, said her grief gave her the right to speak frankly to Mr. Putin.
She and her Beslan Mothers' Committee will tell him in the Kremlin on Sept. 2 -- a year and a day on from the start of the siege -- that official blundering which made the bloodshed worse and is being covered up.
For a year, Beslan residents have demanded a meeting with Mr. Putin to ask how the tense stand-off collapsed into a bloody gunfight and inferno on Sept. 3.
The meeting is unusual because Mr. Putin usually steers clear of potentially embarrassing public encounters with angry voters.
 NEW FINANCE MINISTERMihalakis Sarris has been appointed to the post of Finance Minister, to replace Makis Keravnos who resigned yesterday to take up a senior post at the Hellenic Bank.
An official statement said that ''President of the Republic Tassos Papadopolos, acting in accordance with the authority vested in him by the Constitution, appointed today Mihalakis Sarris to the post of Finance Minister.''
Mr. Sarris gave before President Papadopoulos the appropriate pledge, prior to assuming office.
 UN ZODIA OPENSThe UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has announced that effective 12.30 today, following agreement by the two sides, the Astromeritis-Zodhia crossing point will open.
UNFICYP also announced certain temporary arrangements to facilitate crossings, including opening hours and speed limit.
A press release said that crossing will be open to vehicular traffic between 06.00 and 19.00 daily, traffic movement will be one-way only in alternating periods, no vehicles heavier than 3 tons allowed access, all vehicles must be fully insured and there will be a 45 KPH speed limit.
There will be no stopping in the buffer zone and no pedestrian traffic will be allowed through, it added.
These arrangements, it pointed out, are subject to review pending the start of the EU-funded buffer zone road improvement project between the two checkpoints.
 TSOLAKIS INVESTIGATIONSHead of the Investigative Commission for Air Accidents and Incidents Akribos Tsolakis avoided confirming or rejecting reports that the British engineer of Helios Airline told the Commission he does not wish to come to Cyprus or participate in the investigations into the Helios Boieng 737 plane which crashed near Athens on Augudt 14.
Speaking to CyBC, Mr Tsolakis said this is an issue which is covered by confidentiality.
According to information, the british engineer had signed the document which certified the aircraft's suitability and had talked with the German pilot.
Meanwhile, the legal Service of the Republic announced that Attorney General Petros Clerides has appointed two experts as the police technical advisers in the investigation into the air crash.
 US CONGRESS CYPRUSTen members of Congress who are visiting Cyprus were received today by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.
The Americans handed to President Papadopoulos the flag which was flying at half mast on August 15 following the air crash the day before near Athens which killed 121 people mostly Cypriots.
President PApadopoulos thanked the members of congress for their symbolic gesture.
Earlier they visited House President Demetris Christofias and conveyed to him the support and solidarity for a Cyprus settlement.
Head of the delegation Tom Davis referred to the unique opportunity for a Cyprus solution with the Turkey's accession course and added that with Mr. Christofias they examined cooperation for a fair solution.
 WEATHERThis afternoon it will be mainly clear. Winds will be north-easterly to south-easterly moderate, force three to four and easterly strong, force four to five. The sea will be moderate to rough on the east coast and slight in all other areas. Temperatures will reach 37 C inland, 33 c on the south and east coast, 30 on the west and 27 over te mountains.
Tonight it will be clear with north-westerly winds, two to three beaufort and the sea calm to slight. Temperatures will fall to 22 C inland and 18 over the mountains.