|Sunday, 18 April 2021|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-12-20
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
MONDAY 20 DECEMBER 1999
 HEADLINESAthens and Nicosia are in constant communication in view of the announced second round of UN-sponsored proximity talks on the Cyprus Issue;
The House of Representatives is convening today in its last pre-holiday season plenary session;
A third individual is sentenced to life behind bars for the murder of a Limassol underworld figure;
The Cyprus Stock Exchange experienced a slump today;
Germany's Defence Minister is on an official visit to Turkey;
Russia's Communist Party appears set to win the country's general elections;
Efforts to resolve Italy's political crisis continue;
A car crash rings the death knell for 007's gadgetry expert;
Britain's "Bachelor Boy" rails against his critics in not-so-seemly language.
 PAPANDREOU KASOULIDESAthens and Nicosia are in constant communication in view of the announced second round of UN-sponsored proximity talks on the Cyprus Issue, and it is for this reason that Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou will realise an official visit to the island around the middle of next month.
The announcement was made by Mr Papandreou himself, following the conclusion of a meeting with Cyprus' Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides in Athens. The meeting focused on the Helsinki EU-summit decisions, the results of the first round of the proximity talks, and the announced second round. Saying that the decisions taken at Helsinki have created new prospects towards a Cyprus settlement through the more active involvement in the matter of the European Union, Mr Papandreou added that the recently-established climate governing greco-turkish relations is also expected to contribute in a positive manner.
On his part, Cyprus' Foreign Minister described the Helsinki decisions as positive, and noted that what is now being sought is their appropriate utilisation so that a Cyprus settlement is reached. Mr Kasoulides however emphasised that any such solution must be based on UN Security Council resolutions, and further stressed that the Greek-Cypriot side is not willing to accept anything outside this framework.
 HOUSE PLENUMThe Cyprus House of Representatives is today convening in its last plenary session before the Christmas holidays.
At the centre of today's debates is the government-proposed bill for the taxation of profits accrued through investments at the Cyprus Stock Exchange. In a direct confrontation with the government however, the ruling party (DISY) has voiced its disagreement. The House is to decide on the matter during this afternoon's session, while its also expected to approve the imposition of a 1% levy on all Stock Exchange transactions.
Earlier today, Finance Minister Takis Klerides told our station that the government is willing to accept a profit tax of 8-10% for Stock Exchange earnings during 1999, taking into account the probability that no other taxation will be imposed for the current year.
 CSEThe Cyprus Stock Exchange today experienced a significant slump, with a drop in both the volume of trading and the General Price Index. Both occurences are interpreted as being due to investors' reactions to the governments announce intention to impose a levy on capital gains.
Specifically, the General Price Index closed at just under 732 units, compared to Friday's 750.35, while the volume of trading reached 20 million 300 thousand pounds, to last week's closing of 25 million.
Only one brokerage firm was barred from today's session.
 ASSIZESThe Cyprus Assize Court, convening in Nicosia, today sentenced the third individual charged with the murder of Limassol underworld figure Hambis Aeroporos to life imprisonment, matching the sentences passed on the other two persons accused of the crime.
Prokopis Prokopiou was found guilty on the counts of premeditated murder, possession, bearing and use of firearms and possession of explosives. The sentence handed down however only took into account the charge of premeditated murder, since the imposed life term fully covers the penalty provided by law for all the counts on which he was charged.
The other two individuals involved in the case, policemen Christos Simianos and Savvas Ioannou, were also found guilty and condemned to life imprisonment last Friday.
 SCHARPING TURKEYGerman Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping is today carrying out an official two-day visit to Turkey, where he is scheduled to discuss security issues following the European Union's decision earlier this month to grant Turkey candidate-status.
A spokesman for Germany's Defence Ministry said the main issues of Mr Scharping's talks with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and other leaders would be the EU summit in Helsinki, where Turkey was added to the list of candidates for membership.
The German Defence Minister will also meet with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Defence Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu.
 RUSSIA ELECTIONSRussia's veteran Communist Party today appeared set to win the country's general elections held yesterday, but a strong showing by two new pro-government blocs seems likely to alter the balance of power in Russia's third post-Soviet parliament.
In surprise results that boosted the chances of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for next June's presidential election, the pro-Kremlin Unity bloc seems set to take second place in the State Duma lower house of parliament following yesterday's vote.
The Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS), which also broadly backs Putin, did better than expected, while the centrist Fatherland-All Russia bloc (OVR), which had been forecast to vie for second place with Unity, appears to have to settle for third or fourth place.
As war in Chechnya raged, the Communists took the lead in parliament as constituency returns came in and were set to be the largest faction, as in the old Duma. Half of the 450 Duma seats go to constituencies, with the other half being allocated to parties that win more than 5%.
At the latest noontime report filed by Reuters, some 67% of party-list votes had been counted, while many constituency seats are already known.
 ITALY GOVERNMENTItaly's president is today expected to conclude consultations to end a political crisis and is expected to ask caretaker prime minister Massimo D'Alema to succeed himself at the head of a new government.
President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi kicked off the second and last day of consultations with the three-party Clover group, which precipitated the fall of the D'Alema cabinet on Saturday night.
The group, comprising the Democratic Socialists, the Republicans and a faction headed by former president Francesco Cossiga, sounded the death knell for the government a week ago when they said Massimo D'Alema was not the right person to lead the centre-left to national elections in 2001. It's still not clear what position, if any, the group will take on the formation of a new government with Mr D'Alema at the helm.
 Q DEADOn a sad note for fans of "007" films, Desmond Llewelyn, the affable veteran actor who portrayed gadgetry expert "Q" in all but two of the action-packed James Bond films, died in a car crash yesterday.
According to the relevant Police announcement, the 85-year-old Llewelyn was on his way home from a booksigning in East Sussex, south of London, when he entered a head-on collision near Firle at about 1400GMT and suffered massive multiple injuries. He was airlifted from the scene and taken to hospital where he died at 1710 GMT.
Llewelyn, who was alone in his car, starred in 17 of the 19 Bond films, including the latest, also currently showing in Cyprus, titled "The World is Not Enough".
 TAILERToday's tailer comes to us from the milieu of Britain's pop music industry, with the Peter Pan of the genre, Sir Cliff Richard, angrily rounding on critics who panned his "Millennium Prayer" hit song.
Despite being boycotted by radio stations and record companies, including his own, Sir Cliff topped the charts for the 14th time in his 40-year career with the song, that sets The Lord's Prayer to the music of Auld Lang Syne. He also drew criticism from fellow musicians, with George Michael calling the record "vile exploitation" and, in a dig at the veteran star's holier-than-thou image, spouted the inimitable "I don't think anyone's going to shake the vicar."
The evergreen "Bachelor Boy" responded to the criticism by saying "I'm a big boy. I'll get over it but I won't pretend that I am not very hurt by some of the things people have said about me. Well here I am at 60 and I'm Number One. So stuff them all."
An interesting choice of words from an individual who's public image has always been "totally above board" and "clean as a whistle"!
 WEATHERThe weather will be generally fair this afternoon, with skies being marked by some high passing cloud. Winds will be mainly easterly moderate, 3-4BF, on moderate seas, while temperatures are not expected to exceed 19C inland and along the coasts, and 15C at higher altitudes.
Fair conditions will continue into this evening, with skies once again being marked by some high passing cloud. Winds will abate to light east-to-southeasterlies, 2-3BF, on generally slight seas, rising to moderate in windward areas. Temperatures will drop to 9C inland, 11C in coastal regions and 6C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.