|Saturday, 17 April 2021|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-12-06
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
MONDAY 6 DECEMBER 1999
 HEADLINESThe UN-sponsored New York proximity talks between the President of the Republic and the Turkish-Cypriot leader are set to continue later today;
European Union Foreign Ministers are meeting in Brussels to prepare the ground for Friday and Saturday's EU Helsinki summit, while Greece's Foreign Minister calls on his European counterparts to "assume their responsibilities";
Turkish settlers have practically over-run the occupied areas' indigenous population;
A look, in brief, at news from around the world and further away;
How fickle the fans of today's pop groups!
 CY TALKSThe UN-sponsored New York proximity talks between President of the Republic Glafkos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are today set to continue with analytical and separate presentations of the two sides' positions on the four chapters tabled for discussion. These concern constitutional and territorial matters, as well as the issues of security and property. Towards this end, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will first meet with President Clerides at 6 p.m. (Cyprus time) for a one-hour meeting, to be followed immediately by another meeting with Mr Denktash.
Last night, President Clerides attended a working dinner given by the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, who will be conducting the talks as of tomorrow, given that the UN Chief's will be on an official visit to Canada. Mr de Soto also met with the Turkish-Cypriot leader yesterday.
Meanwhile, our correspondent on the scene has reported that international diplomatic circles describe the position adopted by the Turkish-Cypriot leader during the first day of the talks as positive, and consider as satisfactory the fact that Mr Denktash, while referring to his well-known demands regarding the acknowledgment of his pseudostate, did not insist on them, and appeared willing to discuss matters of substance, as requested by the UN Secretary-General.
 EU FOREIGN MINISTERSEuropean Union Foreign Ministers are meeting in Brussels today to prepare the ground for the 15-nation bloc's upcoming summit, scheduled to take place in the Finnish capital of Helsinki on the 10th and 11th of this month.
Among the items included in the meeting's agenda are Turkey's bid for acceptance as an EU candidate-state, possibilities towards the establishment of a joint European military force, and the Union's expansion and institutional reformation. Also to be discussed are the situations in the Balkans and Chechnya.
Commenting on the prospects of Turkey's upgrading, a spokesperson for the Finnish EU-presidency said that the 15 Foreign Ministers will probably refrain from touching upon the issue, leaving the matter for the heads of government summit meeting at the end of this week.
 PAPANDREOU VETOGreek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, representing his country at the Brussels meeting, called on his European counterparts to stop hiding behind the possibility of Greece exercising a veto as regards Turkey's upgrading and assume their responsibilities.
"If," he stated, "Europe is essentially ready and willing to assume these responsibilities, then Greece will be the first country to say 'yes' to Turkey's upgrading. Otherwise," he continued, "the European Union itself will have to shoulder the blame for any deadlocks, since it would have demonstrated its weakness to assume the relevant responsibilities."
 SETTLERSThe Turkish-Cypriot daily "Avrupa" reports that settlers from mainland Turkey are now in control of the occupied area's economy and have all but completely displaced the indigenous population.
According to the report, 70% of bank employees are Turkish settlers, while the figure goes up to 75% for restaurant owners and 90% for jewellers.
As regards Turkish settlers being treated on an in-patient basis in hospitals, the figure stands at 70%, while of the 145 inmates in the occupied area's prisons,only 45 are Turkish-Cypriots.
The "Avrupa" report closes by noting that the 70-30 ratio seems to be the lot of the Turkish-Cypriots in their very own homeland, since it coincides with that in relation to Greek-Cypriots during the establishment of the Cyprus Republic.
 WORLD IN BRIEFAnd now for a look at news from around the World in brief...
Russia's military today told all Chechens to leave their besieged capital of Grozny within five days or face an unrestrained onslaught by artillery and air. The report was carried on Russia's independent television station, NTV. In Moscow itself meanwhile, President Boris Yeltsin, who last week was admitted to hospital with pneumonia, made a surprise return to the Kremlin today to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma.
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US Middle East envoy Dennis Ross failed to break a peace deadlock when he met Israeli and Palestinian negotiators over the weekend, leaving the sides pinning their hopes on Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's upcoming visit to the region.
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In Pakistan, the country's Supreme Court said that it will start hearing a constitutional petition next month against the army coup that toppled the elected government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif in October.
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And in Vietnam, widespread floods blanketed the central coastal region of the country, killing more than 70 people and leaving an estimated one million in need of emergency assistance, according to local officials and relief workers.
 GREECE DEPORTSGreece yesterday deported to the United States 18 members of a US-based cult that Washington accuses of planning violence to hasten the purported return of Jesus as the end of the millennium approaches.
Police detained the cult members on Friday, amid reports that they could commit mass suicide at the turn of the year. Calling themselves the "Concerned Christians", the 18 arrived in Greece, following a brief stopover at Cyprus Limassol port without being allowed to enter the island, after Israel expelled them last January.
In total, some 50 Concerned Christians whose base is in Denver, Colorado, are believed to be settled in Rafina, a small port town north of Athens. The group's leader, Monte Kim Miller, has prophesied that he will die in Jerusalem in 1999 and be resurrected three days later.
 ERGATESBack to Cyprus, where pupils attending schools in the Ergates area, some 20 km southwest of Nicosia, today refused to attend lessons in protest at the operation of a local smelting plant.
The pull-out is but one of a series of measures taken by Ergates residents following the published results of an epidemiological study which concluded that the plant constitutes a serious health hazard.
Among other measures to be taken are the handing-in of the Ergates residents' electoral booklets, as well as the en masse resignation of the Ergates Community Council.
 MARSOur last but one item takes us up into space, with NASA mission controllers late last night failing to contact the Mars Polar Lander for the fifth time in 48 hours, and acknowledging the possibility that the probe did not survive the much-awaited landing.
Reuters reported that efforts to communicate with the craft are scheduled to be completed by tomorrow morning, after which the very fact of it even entering the Martian atmosphere would be set in serious doubt.
The spacecraft's primary mission was to look for water which scientists believe is trapped just underneath the Martian surface. Two grapefruit-sized probes sent out by the craft were to dig some 70 cm under the surface in order to test for water content. Water could give clues as to whether there was ever life on Mars, even in its most primitive form.
 TAILERToday's tailer comes to us from the world of entertainment, with readers of the British magazine "Smash Hits" voting The Spice Girls, who recently kicked off their first concert tour in two years, Britain's worst group of 1999.
The feisty all-girl quartet, which preaches Girl Power and whose members fill the gossip columns of British tabloids with their love lives and antics, was two years ago voted Britain's best pop group, after selling millions of albums worldwide.
Fickle fans appear to have turned on them however, adding insult to injury in the weekend poll when they singled out one Spice Girl for particular scorn; Mel C was voted Worst Female Singer, Worst Single, Worst Video, Most Tragic Haircut and Worst Dressed Person.
To paraphrase another major British entertainer, albeit from a few centuries ago, "How the mighty fall"!
 WEATHERThe weather will be generally fair this afternoon, with cloud cover increasing in areas, leading to the possibility of scattered showers, mainly in the east. Winds will be moderate northeast-to-northwesterlies, 4BF, on slight to moderate seas, while temperatures are not expected to exceed 21C inland, 22C along the coasts and 11C at higher altitudes.
Generally fair conditions will continue into this evening, but patchy cloud will once again lead to the possibility of scattered showers along eastern shores. Winds will abate to light northeasterlies, 3BF, while seas will remain slight to moderate. Temperatures will drop to 7C inland, 11C in coastal regions and 5C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.
The fire hazard is extremely high in all forest areas.