|Thursday, 23 January 2020|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 03-06-23
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 Monday 23/06/2003
 HEADLINES-- Efforts by international mediators to rescue a new Middle East peace plan were overshadowed by a weekend of bloodshed in the West Bank and Gaza.
-- In India, three coaches of a train jumped the tracks and crashed at the entrance of a tunnel in western India, killing 14 people.
--WHO declared Hong Kong to be effectively SARS-free today, taking it off the list of places with continuing new infections
-- Greek officials were investigating today whether 680 tonnes of explosives found on a ship seized off the coast and bound for Tunisia were destined for a terror organisation.
-- The fundamental freedoms of enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites and the issue of settlers in the occupied areas will be examined during the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which began in Strasbourg today.
 MIDEAST1Efforts by international mediators to rescue a new Middle East peace plan were overshadowed by a weekend of bloodshed in the West Bank and Gaza.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Israel's killing of a senior Hamas commander could hinder the "road map" peace plan championed by a mediation "Quartet" of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.
Saturday's killing of Abdullah Kawasme in the West Bank city of Hebron was denounced as an "assassination" by Palestinians. Israeli sources said Israel tried to arrest him first.
Yesterday four Palestinian militants were killed by an explosion in the Gaza Strip. Witnesses initially said the members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- an armed offshoot of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction -- were killed by Israeli tank rounds fired into Gaza's Beit Hanoun, a frequent flashpoint in the almost 33-month-old conflict.
But other witnesses said the four were planting a bomb that exploded prematurely.
 MIDEAST- An Israeli general leading security talks with the Palestinians said today any temporary truce with Islamic militants would backfire against efforts to bolster a U.S.-backed "road map" to peace.
Major-General Amos Gilad said the radical Palestinian group Hamas wanted to take advantage of a "hudna", the term militants use for a temporary ceasefire under Islamic tradition, to regroup and rearm after a series of Israeli military strikes.
General Gilad said that as far as Hamas is concerned, the 'hudna' is a ceasefire for the purpose of reorganisation, so that it can carry out even harsher acts of murder.
He called instead for the Palestinian Authority to agree to assume security control in the Gaza Strip and West Bank city of Bethlehem in return for an Israeli troop pullback.
Militant groups, including Hamas, have been negotiating with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on a possible truce with Israel to end a cycle of violence that has battered the peace plan affirmed at a U.S.-led summit in Jordan on June 4.
 INDIA TRAINIn India, three coaches of a train jumped the tracks and crashed at the entrance of a tunnel in western India, killing 14 people.
The train, bound for the financial hub, Bombay, from the port city of Karwar, crashed late last night near in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra state, about south of Bombay.
Police said 11 of the 23 people injured in the crash were critically ill.
India has one of the world's largest railway networks with almost 14,000 trains carrying more than 13 million passengers a day. It has a poor safety record with about 300 accidents a year.
The latest accident was the most serious to take place on the western coastal rail corridor, called the Konkan Railway, which was built across treacherous hills in the 1990s and was touted as a major engineering feat.
 BANGLADESHTwo schoolgirls drowned, 20 fishermen were missing presumed dead and nearly 70,000 villagers were marooned today as monsoon rains battered southeastern Bangladesh for a third day.
The girls were swept away when trying to cross a hilly pass in Cox's Bazar, 400 km (250 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka. Flooding has killed five people in the area in three days.
Twenty fishermen have been missing since Saturday when four boats capsized in a storm in the Bay of Bengal.
Officials said 60,000 people on Hatiya island, 15 km offshore, were marooned by floods. The high tide during the monsoon stops the rain water draining out to sea.
About 10,000 people were marooned at Dhunat in Bogra district, 230 km north of Dhaka after the Jamuna river breached a flood protection embankment, an administrative official said.
Most rivers are rising in Bangladesh but they remain below danger levels. Forecasters said the storms should be over by tomorrow.
 SARS HONG KONGThe World Health Organisation declared Hong Kong to be effectively SARS-free today, taking it off the list of places with continuing new infections.
The announcement came after the former British colony went 20 days -- twice the usual incubation period -- without any new cases of the potentially fatal respiratory disease.
Meanwhile, Taiwan said today it might be dropped from the World Health Organization's list of SARS-affected places this week, as the island has gone more than a week without a new case of the deadly virus.
The Department of Health reported on its Web site an unchanged tally of 692 probable cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and 84 deaths -- making it the longest stretch with no cases since the virus began to spread rapidly around the island in late April.
 GREECE SHIP BOMBS- Greek officials were investigating today whether 680 tonnes of explosives found on a ship seized off the coast and bound for Tunisia were destined for a terror organisation.
Bomb experts started examining the cargo and the Baltic Sky's seven crew were due to be questioned by a public prosecutor later in the day.
Authorities were checking paperwork to see whether the cargo was registered as explosives or labelled as something else.
The crew comprised five Ukrainian nationals, including the captain, and two Azeris.
Elite troops stormed the Comoros-flagged Baltic Sky sailing in western Greek waters late last night after receiving a tip-off it was carrying suspicious cargo in its holds.
A police spokesman said the ship was carrying ammonia dynamite, an explosive widely used in mining, as well as detonators and fuses. Tunisia has a significant mining industry.
 COUNCIL OF EUROPEThe fundamental freedoms of enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites and the issue of settlers in the occupied areas will be examined during the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which began in Strasbourg today.
Rapporteurs are Swiss Liberal deputy Dick Marti and Finnish deputy of the United Left, Jaakso Lakso.
Head of the Cyprus Parliamentary delegation, Christos Pourgourides told CNA he hoped the reports of the two rapporteurs will be approved by PACE.
 CYPRIOT MURDER ATHENSA greek Cypriot living in Athens was murdered in his apartment this morning. Erakles Neofytou, 33 was allegedly stabbed by Romanian Lief Tezesku in the early hours. The suspect was arrested and is being questioned.
According to preliminary reports, the victim had a relationship with the suspect's sister.
 WEATHERThis afternoon, the weather will be mainly clear with local cloud. Winds will turn to moderate sea breezes, four beaufort and strong, five beaufort. The sea will be slight in windward southerly areas. Tempeatures will reach 34 C inland, 32 C on the south coast, 28 over the west and north and 27 over the mountains.
Tonight, the weather will be mainly clear but thin mist will form locally. Winds will be westerly to north-westerly light, two to three beaufort and the sea slight. Temperatures will fall to 22 C inland, 20 C on the coasts and 17 over the mountains.
The fire hazard remains very high in all forest areas.