|Monday, 24 February 2020|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 03-06-30
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINES-- Israel returned the Gaza Strip's main highway to Palestinian control today ending a 30-month blockade and advancing a fragile U.S.-backed peace plan.
-- Greece's Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, expressed joy that Greece chaired the EU rotating presidency in first six months of 2003, noting it contributed to the change that has occurred.
-- A Milan court trying Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for corruption said today that a recent law offering the premier immunity from prosecution might be illegal and asked Italy's Supreme Court to investigate.
-- Turkey's Foreign minister, Abdullah Gul and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are making contradictory statements once again on the Annan Plan.
 MIDEASTIsrael returned the Gaza Strip's main highway to Palestinian control today ending a 30-month blockade and advancing a fragile U.S.-backed peace plan.
A taxi loaded with seven passengers was the first Palestinian vehicle to drive along the road after Israeli tanks departed and earthen and concrete barricades were cleared away.
Gaza police hoisted a Palestinian flag over a makeshift outpost along the 45-km highway. One Israeli armoured troop carrier remained parked by the road at mid-morning but traffic was flowing freely.
Palestinian police regained control of the road across the Mediterranean territory hours after Israeli troops pulled out of northern Gaza, launching a disengagement process buoyed by Palestinian militants' decision to suspend attacks on Israel.
Some 50 Israeli armoured vehicles left the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun after U.S. presidential adviser Condoleezza Rice met both sides to press them to begin implementing the peace "road map" after three weeks of stubborn bloodshed that almost shredded it.
As the last tank left Beit Hanoun, seized a month ago after rocket attacks on southern Israel, a youngster ran behind waving a Palestinian flag in its dusty wake.
 SIMITISGreece's Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, expressed joy that Greece chaired the EU rotating presidency in first six months of 2003, noting it contributed to the change that has occurred.
The Greek Premier was received by President Costis Stephanopoulos, where he informed him on the results of the Greek presidency of the EU which ends today and Italy will be taking over.
 ITALY BERLUSCONIA Milan court trying Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for corruption said today that a recent law offering the premier immunity from prosecution might be illegal and asked Italy's Supreme Court to investigate.
The decision, coming just one day before Italy takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union, was a setback for Berlusconi and his lawyers denounced the move.
A panel of judges hearing Berlusconi's long-running graft trial said they would suspend the case in accordance with the controversial immunity legislation, which was rammed into law by Mr. Berlusconi supporters earlier this month.
But they also requested that the Supreme Court review the law, saying concerns that it was unconstitutional were not "totally unfounded".
Mr. Berlusconi's lawyers said the decision reinforced their view that the Milan judiciary was pursuing a political vendetta against the prime minister.
Mr. Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly bribing judges to win favourable rulings in a 1980s takeover battle. He denies the charges.
With a verdict looming just as Italy was set to take over the EU presidency, parliament approved the immunity law, offering legal shelter to Italy's top five officials. The Prime Minister is the only one of the elite five currently on trial.
 PAKISTAN- A Pakistani anti-terrorism court sentenced three men to death today for organising a suicide bomb attack that killed 11 French naval technicians in the port city of Karachi last year.
A car packed with explosives blew up outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi on May 8 last year, killing the Frenchmen, who were helping Pakistan build submarines, and three Pakistanis, including the bomber.
One of the three men was sentenced in absentia.
 NIGERIA STRIKEPolice fired teargas and live rounds in Nigeria's biggest city of Lagos and the inland capital Abuja today to disperse protesters at the start of a general strike over fuel prices.
A Reuters journalist in Lagos saw police firing live rounds in the air to disperse a large group chanting anti-government slogans around burning tyres in the middle of a major street.
The streets of Lagos and Abuja were largely deserted as NLC leaders launched the indefinite general strike over Obasanjo's more hike of petrol prices by more than 50 percent.
The two seaports in Lagos were closed but the city's airport, Nigeria's main international gateway, appeared to be operating normally.
State radio said Obasanjo would personally meet NLC leaders later on Monday to try to halt the action that many Nigerians fear could trigger violence in Africa's most populous country.
 DENKTASH GULTurkey's Foreign minister, Abdullah Gul and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are making contradictory statements once again on the Annan Plan.
According to the Turkish Cypriot press, Mr. Gul said that despite the fact that Mr. Denktash says the Annan plan is dead, what is important is that the plan exists and its provisions are satisfying.
On the contrary, Mr. Denktash insists on rejecting the Annan plan, stating that if he had accepted it, then a number of settlers will be forced to abandon the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.
He repeated his allegations that Europe should not allow Cyprus' accession until the Cyprus problem is solved between two equally sides, as he claimed.
 HOTELIERSContacts between the hotel employers, unions and Labour Minister Makis Keravnos will determine whether the sector will take strike action in the future.
The thorny issue is the renewal of the collective agreement of employees in the hotel industry.
The Pancyprian Hoteliers' Association decided to accept, under certain preconditions, the minister's mediatory proposal. However the conditions set by the association were not accepted by the trade unions.
 MIST LCAThick fog covered the Larnaca area this morning, causing problems in aircraft landing and departing.
Two planes had to land at Paphos airport and another four landed in Larnaca but were delayed.
 WEATHERThis afternoon the weather will be mainly clear but local cloud will bring some isolated rain over the mountains. Winds will be southwesterly to north-westerly light to moderate, three to four beaufort and locally strong, five beaufort. The sea will be slight to moderate.
Temperatures will reach 36 C inland, 31 C on the south coast, 29 on the west and 28 over the mountains.
Tonight the weather will be clear but thin mist and low cloud will form in some coastal areas. Winds will be westerly to north-westerly light, two to three beaufort and the sea slight. Temperatures will fall to 23 C inland, 21 on the coasts and 18 over the mountains. The fire hazard remains very high in all forest areas.