|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 00-10-19
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINESToday's phase of the National Guard's "Nikiphoros" military exercise was held with the participation of Greek fighter planes;
The Democratic Party's Chairman reiterates his support of efforts towards a resolution of the Cyprus Issue, and was, at the latest report, in a meeting with Greece's Foreign Minister;
The Cyprus Stock Exchange suffered another serious setback today, while investors continue to clamour over losses;
Violent clashes in the Middle East appear to have abated, but the situation remains tense;
The US State Department has issued a travel advisory warning to Americans abroad;
Britain plans to re-establish diplomatic relations with North Korea;
Sensually slithering snakes snub snoozing Aussies!
 NIKIPHOROSHellenic Air Force fighter planes carried out sorties over Cyprus today, using live ammunition to attack targets within the scope of the National Guard's "Nikiphoros" military exercise, which began on Monday, in tandem with the Greek Armed Forces' "Toxotis" manoeuvres.
At precisely 10 a.m., two A-7 Corsair bombers flew over the Nicosia-district exercise area and struck mock targets, in co-ordination with National Guard ground troops advancing against theoretical enemy positions. Today's manoeuvres also included the use of mechanised and artillery support.
Following their successful sortie, the two bombers headed towards Paphos where, after describing circles over the "Andreas Papandreou" air base, returned to their base in Greece.
Commenting on today's phase of the "Nikiphoros" exercise, Cyprus' Defence Minister Sokratis Hasikos told our station that the Hellenic Air Force will once again make its presence felt over the island both tomorrow and Saturday, while also stressing, in a direct quote, that "Greece is here and anything else said would be idle talk."
The Hellenic Navy is also participating in this year's "Nikiphoros" exercise, with one submarine and a number of surface vessels patrolling the seas off Cyprus.
 TASOS CLERIDESDemocratic Party Chairman Tassos Papadopoulos was this morning received at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, and in statements afterwards said that he assured the President of the Republic of DIKO's continued support in efforts towards reaching a Cyprus settlement, provided these do not fall outside the scope outlined by the National Council.
At the same time however, he reiterated his party's concerns over the developments observed during the fourth round of UN-sponsored proximity talks held in New York.
Following his meeting with President Clerides, Tassos Papadopoulos left for Athens, where he was scheduled to meet with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, as part of Mr Papandreou's series of contacts with Cyprus' political party leaders, aimed at exchanging opinions over the fourth round of talks and in view of the fifth round, set for the beginning of next month in Geneva.
No further details of the meeting were available at the time of us going on air.
 CSEThe Cyprus Stock Exchange suffered yet another blow today, with the General Price Index plummeting by a further 4.63% and closing at 308, the lowest-ever this year.
Moving the opposite way was the overall volume of trading, which climbed to 20.8 million pounds, as compared to yesterday's 17 million.
Clamouring over their losses, investors demanded immediate and practical measures towards stabilising the CSE, and not hollow promises and vacuous proclamations. At the same time, they once again referred to games being played against their best interests and to certain parties which are leading the GPI wherever they want.
Commenting on the situation, Finance Minister Takis Kliridis told our station this morning that the government has chosen to intervene in CSE workings not in order to reverse the negative trend and raise prices, but to improve the investing public's trust in the bourse.
Asked about a statement made by Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou over a reduntant fluidity in the market, Mr Kliridis refrained from taking a stance, saying instead that the entire Stock Exchange issue should be dealt with in its totality and not piecemeal.
 MIDEAST WRAPClashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians appear to have abated, as the two sides are proceeding with the implementation of an agreement forged at Tuesday's US-brokered emergency summit held in Egypt.
Although violent clashes have seemed to ease, a security adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, speaking on Israel's army radio, said that the situation is not getting any quieter, and described the scope of the incidents, in both size and strength, as more or less the same as the levels observed on the eve of the summit.
Sporadic confrontations continued overnight throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with at least one Israeli soldier being hurt by stones thrown in the area of the divided West Bank city of Hebron. Early this morning meanwhile, one round of fire was shot at two tanks positioned in the Jewish neighbourhood of Gilo on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The Israeli army also reported several exchanges of fire between troops and Palestinian gunmen near the Egyptian border at Rafah in the Gaza Strip, while shots were reportedly also fired at other army posts in Gaza.
At least 106 people, all but seven of them Palestinians, were killed in the almost-three-weeks of fighting.
On a more positive note, Israel today opened the Karni border-crossing with the Gaza Strip to commercial traffic and the transfer of goods, as part of the agreement's provisions. Karni however remains closed to human traffic, as does the Erez crossing, mainly used by Palestinian labourers.
 US TRAVEL ADVISORYThe US State Department announced yesterday that it has indications that certain parties may be planning attacks on American citizens and interests in the Gulf, the Arabian peninsula and Turkey.
In a public announcement, the State Department said that Americans should be careful when considering travelling in the areas in question, and that those already there should avoid large crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile and take steps to make themselves less vulnerable.
The announcement gave no details of particular threats, but its wording suggests that the United States has received specific intelligence information.
Yesterday's was the latest of many recent warnings concerning travel to the Middle East. On Tuesday, the State Department issued a specific travel advisory warning for Turkey and cities with large Turkish populations, anticipating wide protests over a US congressional resolution recognising the 1915 killings of Armenians by Turkish government forces and paramilitary groups as genocide.
 BRITAIN-KOREABritain's Foreign Secretary announced this morning that his country plans to open diplomatic relations with North Korea for the first time since the establishment of the far eastern state, some 50 years ago.
En route to the Asia-Europe ASEM summit being held in the South Korean capital of Seoul, Robin Cook said that Britain would respond positively to a relevant approach made by North Korea last month. Giving no time-frame for the move, he did say however that the first step would be to accredit diplomats, with future prospects of establishing British diplomatic premises in the communist state.
The development follows the last few months' peace initiatives between the two Koreas, which, until recently, shared the only remaining Cold War border in the world.
 TAILERToday's tailer comes to us from down under, and specifically from the northern Australian town of Mackay, where two amorous carpet snakes rattled the rafters of a farmhouse during a marathon love-making session, during which the human residents of the house, husband and wife Cecil and Ann Gakowski, found it impossible to sleep because of the noise.
"We just couldn't sleep. There was all this hissing," Ann Gakowski told Reuters this morning. "They were twisted up together and rolling around, banging against the roof."
After two whole nights of ophidian osculation, and having had just about enough of the two-metre lovers thrashing overhead, the couple decided to evict the pair.
Even sweeping the slithering lovers out of the farmhouse roof however failed to break their passionate embrace, with the perplexed Ann saying... "They hit the wardrobe and kept going, right there, on our bedroom floor, going for it. We just watched for about an hour because we weren't sure whether they'd get angry if we interrupted them. They were sitting up, about two foot up in the air, curling up and around each other."
In the end, the Gakowskis resorted to shoving the snakes out the door, sending them tumbling together down the stairs and, sadly for the sensual serpentines, ending their affair.
 WEATHERPartly cloudy conditions are forecast for this afternoon, leading to the possibility of scattered showers throughout the island. Winds will be moderate northwesterlies, 4BF, on slight seas, while temperatures are not expected to exceed 27C both inland and along the coasts, and 19C at higher altitudes.
Partly cloudy conditions will continue into this evening, once again leading to the possibility of scattered showers in areas. Winds will abate to light to moderate westerlies, 3-4BF, on slight seas, while temperatures will dropto 15C inland, 16C in coastal regions and 10C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.
And a reminder that while temperatures may be dropping, the fire hazard remains very high in all forest areas.