|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 00-10-04
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINESThe State intervenes in the controversy surrounding senior Church of Cyprus officials, ordering a criminal investigation over the possibility of a conspiracy to cause damage to the reputation of certain persons;
The Greek Foreign Minister meets with Cyprus' House Defence Committee, while a series of separate meetings has also been scheduled with Cyprus' political party leaders;
A routine inventory check at the Nicosia General Hospital stores comes up with two major discrepancies involving medicines;
The 275 illegal migrants rescued off the Paphos coast more than two weeks ago are back in Lebanon;
The Cyprus Stock Exchange closes on a positive note, albeit at the low figures posted of late.
 PRIESTSWith the controversy plaguing senior Church of Cyprus officials showing no signs of abating, the State has decided to step in and order a criminal investigation into whether there was a conspiracy to cause damage to the reputation of Limassol Metropolitan Bishop Athanasios.
Making the announcement today, Attorney-General of the Republic Alecos Markides said that certain persons have already been maligned, and added that anyone who feels slighted by the proceedings should seek recourse with the island's courts and request an embargo on all relevant statements, pending the completion of hearings and the issuing of a verdict.
Mr Markides stressed that the proceedings began in earnest today, and called attention to the provisions of the island's criminal code as regards the repeat of any statements which could disrupt the correct course of justice.
Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou also commented on the issue today, saying that the only way out of the ecclesiastical crisis is for Church officials to restore the public's trust in their person, both through their demeanour as well as through their overall behaviour.
In a parallel development, attorney-at-law Christos Clerides has filed a suit against the Astra Radio Station for broadcasting statements damaging to his client, Metropolitan Athanasios, and proceeded to say that he cannot exclude the possibility of requesting a court order banning Astra from any further transmissions on the matter. Mr Clerides ended by saying that given the circumstances, the only possible solution to the problem which has been created is for the Archbishop to call a Major Holy Synod and fully exonerate his client.
 PAPANDREOUGreek Foreign Minister George Papandreou stated today that his country's government is not proceeding with any moves on the Cyprus Issue without the agreement and consent of the Cyprus government.
Mr Papandreou made the statement during an meeting realised this morning in Athens between Cyprus' House Defence Committee, which is on an official visit to the Greek capital, and the Foreign and Defence Committee of the Greek Chamber of Deputies, chaired by former Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Papoulias noted that items on the agenda included the latest developments in the Cyprus Issue and defence matters, while he also described the island's long-standing problem as one of major national importance for Greece, adding that plans have already been made for the committee to visit Cyprus and in an effort to forge a closer relationship between the two parliaments.
 PAPANDREOU CYPRUS LEADERSMeanwhile, the Greek Foreign Minister has scheduled a series of separate meetings with Cyprus political party leaders, two of which are already in Athens.
Democratic Rally Chairman Nikos Anastassiades, on leaving for Athens this morning, said that he has been tasked with conveying, to Mr Papandreou, various issues of concern to the Greek-Cypriot community, and described as a "grave mistake" a statement issued yesterday by Cyprus' Government Spokesman, in which Michalis Papapetrou interpreted the UN Secretary-General's silence following the letters sent by the President of the Republic in New York as indicating "an understanding of the Greek-Cypriot side's position".
Mr Anastassiades elaborated by saying that not only was there no silence on the part of Kofi Annan, but to the contrary, certain clarifications were given which made it possible for the fourth round of talks to continue.
AKEL Secretary-General has been in Athens since yesterday, while Social Democrats Chairman Vassos Lyssarides is expected in the Greek capital tomorrow.
No information was immediately available on when the Democratic Party and United Democrats chairmen will be meeting Mr Papandreou.
 SPOKESMANResponding to the DISY chairman's comment, Government Spokesman Papapetrou emphasised later today that there is no difference of opinion whatosoever between himself and Mr Anastassiades, adding that all can be attributed to what he termed as "a simple misunderstanding."
Mr Papapetrou went on to clarify that when he referred to Kofi Annan's "silence", he meant as regards public statements issued by the UN Secretary-General. These, the Government Spokesman continued, did definitely not include the statements issued on the matter by the UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor for Cyprus Alvaro deSoto, who also conveyed to the President of the Republic an interpretation which was deemed satisfactory.
Government Spokesman Papapetrou also mentioned that the President of the Republic considers that the controversial statement issued by the UN Secretary-General at the opening of the talks was amended to the greatest possible degree
 MEDICINESCyprus' Health Minister has ordered an investigation into the disappearance of large quantities of amphetamines from the Nicosia General Hospital stores, while two civil servants are facing the possibility of being temporarily relieved of duty.
Commenting on the discovery, which was made during a routine inventory check and which came up with 400 amphetamine pills missing, Health Minister Frixos Savvides spoke of a possible falsification of prescriptions and the distribution of controlled medicines to non-existent patients.
At the same time, Mr Savvides disclosed that the inventory check also brought to light an equally serious case involving the presence, in the Nicosia General Hospital stores, of large quantities of prescription drugs which should have been destroyed following their expiration and in line with a Ministry directive.
In closing, Cyprus' Health Minister noted that the Auditor-General of the Republic has been notified of both cases.
 MIGRANTSThe 275 illegal migrants who were rescued by Cyprus authorities after the vessel on which they were travelling developed engine trouble off the coast of Paphos more than two weeks ago, were today returned to Lebanon, from where they'd originally set sail.
The return was made possible following intensive consultations between Cyprus' Interior Ministry and Lebanese authorities.
Escorted all the way from the island by Cyprus police and security forces on the cruiseships "Fantasy" and "Napa Queen", the migrants reached Lebanon with their numbers having increased by one, following the en route birth of a baby girl.
Referring to the return operation, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said that it went smoothly and without any untoward incidents.
 LIMASSOL BLASTA bomb blast rocked the Yermasoyia area of Limassol early this morning, while Larnaka police are investigating a case of stolen National Guard materiel.
The Limassol blast occured at around 6 a.m., and caused extensive damage to a car belonging to Armenian businessman Zakhar Karatel, who owns a restaurant on Potamos Yermasoyias Lavrion street.
In the Larnaka district meanwhile, police are looking into a report filed by Anglisidhes resident Theodoros Sophocleous, who claims that at some time between July and the present, four National Guard G-3 rifle magazines, 100 bullets, one bayonet and a gun-cleaning kit were stolen from his house.
 CSEThe Cyprus Stock Exchange closed on a positive note today, with a rise in the General Price Index, even though the session was, by and large, marked by a general slump in trading.
Falling to 341 by the middle of today's session, the GPI then proceeded to slowly climb back to 349, still 3 units lower than yesterday's closing, with last-minute transactions involving Globalsoft shares succeeding in giving it the necessary boost needed to finally close at 354.
The overall volume of trading came to some 22 million pounds, while drops were posted by all part-indices with the exception of the Information Technology sector, which showed a significant increase of 3% from yesterday.
 WEATHERGenerally fair conditions are forecast for tonight, with light northeasterly winds, 3BF, on slight to moderate seas, and temperatures dropping to 19C inland and in the west, 22C in the south, and 16C at higher altitudes.
Generally fair conditions are once again forecast for tomorrow, even though skies will be marked by some light cloud. Winds will be light to moderate easterlies, 3-4BF, on moderate seas, while temperatures are not expected to exceed 33C inland and in coastal regions, and 22C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.
Today's max and min temps were:
Nicosia 33 - 17 Limassol 33 - 22 Larnaka 32 - 21 Paphos 33 - 17 and Prodromos 22 - 15.
The fire hazard is very high in all forest areas.