|Monday, 18 January 2021|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 02-07-10
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HeadlinesThe tragic news have shocked the people of Cyprus. National Guard Commander General Evangelos Florakis is dead. He was killed early this morning, when his helicopter crashed in Paphos. Four other officers died.
The government declared three-days of mourning and has cancelled all official engagements.
Preliminary reports point to mechanical failure
The Security Council expressed pessimism over the course of direct settlement talks.
 Florakis deathCyprus has woken up in shock over the tragic death of the National Guard Commander General Evangelos Florakis. He was killed at twenty minutes past four this morning, when his helicopter crashed in Paphos. He was 59. Four other officers of the force died. Airforce commander brigadier Stelios Demenagas, the Commanders' aide, lieutenant Nikolas Georgiou and the two pilots of the Bell helicopter, captain Paris Athanasiades and first lieutenant Michalis Siakallis. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of three thousand feet, heading from Nicosia to Paphos. Its last communication with the control tower was at five minutes past four this morning. The Bell helicopter crashed in the Diarizos river bed and burst into flames, four kilometers from the Andreas Papandreou military air base where it was set to land. Locals alarmed the police and the control tower, with National Guard, police, fire department forces and ambulances rushing to the area. The charred bodies of the five victims were taken to the Paphos General Hospital.
 Clerides incidentPresident of the republic Glafkos Clerides expressed deep sorrow over the tragic incident and offered his condolences to the families of the five officers. He was fully briefed, on his arrival at the General Command of the National Guard. The government declared three days of mourning and today's meeting of the Cabinet, as well as all other government, party and house of representatives engagements were cancelled. Flags will fly at half mast in government buildings and National Guard camps. Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said that this is a day of mourning for the people of Cyprus, who have suffered a great blow. Papapetrou did not rule out the possibility that before the end of the day, the government will announce the appointment of a new Commander. President Clerides visited the scene of the tragedy and the nearby Andreas Papandreou military air base.
 Clerides foulPresident Clerides has ruled out foul play, noting however that it is too early to jump into conclusions over the causes of the crash. On his return from Paphos, the president stated that the government has called specialists from Greece to take part in an enquiry over the causes. He said that mechanical failure is possible, which forced the pilot to attempt an emergency landing. According to preliminary reports the chopper crashed in a precipice and fell in the Diarizos riverbed. However, in his last communication with the control tower, the pilot had not referred to any problems. The president of the republic said that the death of the five officers was a huge loss during critical times for Cyprus.
 HasikosDefence minister Socratis Hasikos stated that a Special Committee has been set up to investigate the causes. He noted that this was the first accident in 18 years, when a helicopter unit started operating in the National Guard. The Greek government and the Greek armed forces Command have been briefed on the incident.
 House partiesHouse president Dimitris Christofias expressed deep sorrow and grief over the death of the Commander and the other four officers. He said that they were killed in the line of duty and their deaths are a great loss. Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will honour the memory of the officers. In a written statement,. left wing party AKEL said that the loss of the officers is a great loss for the National Guard and Cyprus. DISY said that the five officers were killed in the line of a duty at a critical time for Cyprus. DIKO president Tassos Papadopoulos expressed his condolences to the families of the officers, adding that General Florakis stood out for his honesty, integrity, wisdom, his military capabilities and leadership qualities. KISOS spoke of the honourable officers that gave their lives in the line of duty for the freedom of Cyprus. The United Democrats, New Horizons and the Green party also issued written statements expressing grief.
 Florakis obitEvangelos Florakis was born in the Greek city of Arta in 1943. He graduated from the Army Cadet School in 1966 with the rank of second lieutenant of the infantry and later attended the National Defence and War Schools. The General also went through special weapons, commando, special forces and parachuters' schools. In his long standing career, Florakis had served in Cyprus twice before, as an officer of the Greek force in Cyprus and deputy chief of staff of the National Guard. In Greece he had served, among others, as an infantry regiment commander on the Evros river at the border with Turkey, Commander of the Supreme war school in Salonica and head of the second army brigade. In May 2000, he was recalled from retirement to take on the position of National Guard Commander in Cyprus. He arrived on the island on the 12th of May. He was married to a Greek-cypriot, Athina Floraki from Paphos, an English literature professor. He had two daughters, Eleni and Stephania.
 Sec CouncilIn other news, The UN Security Council was briefed at a closed meeting, by the Secretary Generals' special advisor on the Cyprus issue Alvaro De Soto on the course of direct settlement talks. Following the briefing, the chairman of the Council, British permanent representative to the UN Jeremy Greenstock read a statement stating that progress in direct talks has been disappointingly slow, and the goal of reaching an agreement by the end of June, has not been achieved. The Security Council noted that the Turkish-cypriot side has been less constructive and refused to support the goal of solving all the core issues by the end of June. It further called on both parties to work closely with Alvaro De Soto, in order to provide him with the opportunity to determine the ingredients of a comprehensive solution, on the basis of Security Council resolutions. It was also agreed that the direct talks process will continue in its current form, with a new report submitted by the Secretary-General at the end of September.
 London mpsA group of 25 British mps have expressed pessimism over the final outcome of direct settlement talks, because of the Turkish sides' intransigent stance. However, they were certain of Cyprus' accession to the European Union, stressing that the republics' entry will aid in shifting Turkish policy. The mps were speaking at the House of Commons last night, in a function for the anniversaries of the 15th of July 1974 coup and the Turkish invasion. They criticised the British special representative on the Cyprus problem Lord Hannay over references to two peoples in Cyprus and the creation of two states. The meeting was organised by the National Cypriot Federation of Britain.
 Turkey elexIn foreign news, Turkey's ailing Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit was quoted today as acknowledging for the first time that early polls may be possible amid differences in his three-party government.
But Milliyet newspaper quoted him as saying he saw no need to resign.
More than 30 cabinet lawmakers, including five ministers, have resigned from Ecevit's Democratic Left Party this week since its rightist Nationalist Action Party partner urged early polls, saying the government was seen as being in disarray.
Fikret Bila, a columnist close to the 77-year-old premier, quoted him in Milliyet newspaper as saying after talks with MHP leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday that he believed early polls would be bad for the country, especially for the economy.
Markets fear elections could upset implementation of a 16 billion IMF-backed reform programme, drawn up after a financial crisis that shook the country in 2001 slashed the value of the lira in half and threw thousands out of work.
Ecevit has made no public comment since the current crisis broke on Sunday, when Bahceli called for November polls. Only hours before that call, the premier had said he was confident the three-party coalition would hold together and continue in office until 2004.
Ecevit said he still saw no need to step down despite the exodus from his party, which has made DSP parliament's second-largest party after the MHP.
 Steiger obitScreen actor Rod Steiger, an intense and versatile performer who won an Academy Award for his role as a bigoted small-town sheriff in the racially charged 1967 film "In the Heat of the Night," died yesterday. He was 77.
Steiger, who brought a burly, volatile presence to a wide array of characters he played during a 50-year career, from the racketeer in "On the Waterfront" to a concentration camp survivor in "The Pawnbroker", succumbed to pneumonia and kidney failure.
Steiger, Oscar nominated for both "On the Waterfront" (1954) and "The Pawnbroker" (1964) before winning Hollywood's biggest honor for "In the Heat of the Night," died at a Los Angeles-area hospital where he had been recovering from recent gall bladder surgery
Weather It will be cloudy this afternoon, with the possibility of isolated showers and thunderstorms, mainly inland and on the mountains. Winds will be light to moderate westerly to southwesterly, force three to four, turning strong force five to six on the south coast, over moderate seas in windward areas. Temperatures will reach 34 degrees inland, 31 on the south and east coast, 29 on the west and north coast and 25 on the mountains. Tonight it will be mainly fine with patchy clouds and thin mist expected to form at dawn. Winds will be light westerly to northwesterly, force three, over moderate seas in windward areas. Temperatures will fall to 21 degrees inland and on the coast and 15 on the mountains. The fire hazard is extremely high in all forest areas.