|Sunday, 15 December 2019|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-12-30
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
THURSDAY 30 DECEMBER 1999
 NATIONAL COUNCILThe National Council, which convened at ten o'clock this morning, was briefed by both President of the Republic Glafkos Clerides and Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on the latest developments in the Cyprus Issue, focusing particularly on those following the New York proximity talks and the Helsinki EU summit decision.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said that no documents were tabled during today's meeting, and that the island's political leaders reserved any comments for the next meeting, scheduled for January 4th. Mr Papapetrou did say however that everything proceeded in a calm manner.
As regards the next round of proximity talks, scheduled to be held in Geneva, Government Spokesman Papapetrou said that a possible date of commencement could well be January 31st, and that they are expected to last for about ten days.
 UN CYPRIOTThe Presidium of the UN Human Rights Commission has appointed a Cypriot as its Rapporteur on Iraq.
Andreas Mavrommatis, who has held posts both as state minister as well as ambassador of the republic abroad, described the appointment as a particular honour, noting the complexity of the problem, given the Iraqi government's lack of co-operation with the UN Rapporteur in the past.
The Rapporteur's mandate comprises an in-depth study of possible human rights violations and the submission of a relevant report to both the Commission and the UN General Assembly.
The newly-appointed Rapporteur will visit Geneva early next month to meet with UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Mary Robinson in order to prepare a timetable for his visits to Iraq.
 TREASURY DEPTAn unsuccessful attempt to burgle the state coffers was made last night, when unknown individuals tried to break into one of the Treasury Department's strongboxes.
According to preliminary police investigations, the perpetrators forced open two doors of the building housing the Cyprus Treasury Department offices and, using an oxy-acetylene blowtorch, tried to cut open the safe, without, however, any success.
The attempt was first noticed this morning by a Treasury Department employee.
Police investigations are continuing.
 KIDNAPPolice have launched an islandwide search for a three-year-old boy and his Pakistani father, missing since yesterday afternoon, while relatives are expressing fears that the father may attempt to take the child out of Cyprus through the occupied area of the Republic.
The disappearance was reported by the boy's Cypriot grandfather, Tassos Gastriotis, who was awarded care of the child following his daughter's divorce.
As mentioned by the grandfather, his ex-son-in-law Magic Yussef Khan, an Engomi resident, had yesterday taken young Daniel for the afternoon, and was to return him to his mother by 6:30 p.m., something however which did not occur.
Any-one with relevant information is requested to contact the nearest police station.
 CHECHNYARussian forces were this morning consolidating their latest gains in and around the Chechen capital of Grozny, after rebels acknowledged losses in the city and in the breakaway region's southern mountains.
The report was filed by the Itar-Tass News Agency from Russia's main regional military base of Mozdok, just outside breakaway Chechnya, and said, in a direct quote, that "The troops continued to build up tactically advantageous positions around Grozny, avoiding clashes with the bandit gangs," and adding that warplanes and artillery were pounding rebel positions without respite.
In statements made earlier this week, Russian military officials had said that their troops would gain complete control of Grozny by December 31st.
 HIJACKIndian officials today resumed negotiations with hijackers holding more than 150 hostages on an Indian Airlines plane parked at southern Afghanistan's Kandahar airport, as New Delhi denied reports it had agreed to release a limited number of prisoners to win the hostages' freedom.
"There is no such agreement," Foreign Ministry spokesman Raminder Singh Jassal told Reuters after reports that India was poised to free some of the militants the hijackers want released to help end the crisis, now entering its seventh day.
Western diplomats monitoring the crisis and the safety of their nationals aboard the plane said it seemed that the negotiations had reached a critical stage.
Indian airport officials said passengers included 154 Indians, eight Nepalese, four Swiss, four Spaniards, two French, a Japanese, a Canadian, a Belgian, an Australian, an Italian and an American. After stabbing and killing one of the hostages, an Indian national, in the first few hours of the saga, the hijackers have so far released 28 of the captives.
 OLDEST REMAINSThe remains of a child found in a well in the Paphos-district village of Kissonerga five years ago have been officially dated to 8300 B.C., making them the island's oldest traces of human habitation.
Antiquities Department Director Sophocles HjiSavvas told Reuters that following independent confirmation of the age of the bones through research carried out in Arizona, Oxford and Edinburgh, it can be safely assumed that the earliest date of human settlement in Cyprus was around that time.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found the Kissonerga remains in an ancient well which also contained seeds of domesticated crops, and sheep, goat, pig and deer bones. The findings suggest that the child belonged to one of the first groups of farmers to colonise the island. In a second well, not as old as the first, researchers said they found detached skulls of more humans carefully deposited together with animal carcasses. The specific burial customs are typical of certain pre-pottery neolithic cultures of the Levantine mainland and southern Anatolia, providing valuable evidence on the origin of the island's first settlers.
 CSEActivity at the Cyprus Stock Exchange was today marked by decreases in both the general price index and the volume of trading.
The general price index closed at just under 711 units, as compared to yesterday's 724, while a drop of about two million pounds was observed in the volume of trading, which closed at 30 million pounds following a total of some five-and-a-half thousand transactions.
Today's was the last Stock Exchange session for 1999. The CSE will next open on Tuesday, January 4th, since banks, while not on holiday, will be closed to the public tomorrow and Monday, January 3rd, in order to deal with possible hiccups due to the Y2K problem.
 LOTTO/JOKERThere were no Lotto and Proto grand-prize winners last night, resulting in this Saturday's draws paying out a total of half a million pounds.
The Lotto combination was 11, 28, 35, 36, 38 and 39.
A five-number match earns 714 pounds, and a four-number match 8 pounds 50 cents.
The Proto number was 11 27 845.
There were no first-category winners in last night's Joker draw either, bringing the pot in Sunday's draw to one million 200 thousand pounds.
The numbers drawn last night were 10, 15, 24, 30 and 31, with number 3 as the Joker.
 GEORGE STABBEDFormer Beatles member George Harrison and his wife Olivia were stabbed at their home west of London early this morning, and were admitted to hospital with chest wounds, a police spokesman said.
The spokesman told Reuters a man had been arrested at the Harrisons' home in Henley-on-Thames on suspicion of attempted murder.
"The injuries aren't life-threatening. It looks like a stabbing," police spokesman Guy Bailey said.
He said a member of the Harrisons' staff telephoned police to report an attack by an intruder at 3:30 GMT today.
Bailey said Harrison, who was stabbed four times in the chest, fought with the intruder to protect his wife, who also suffered head injuries.
 TAILEROn to today's tailer and one of the best-known landmarks in the world, London's Trafalgar Square, for which a committee has been set up seeking ideas for a statue to adorn a vacant plinth.
Among the various imaginative and novel proposals are statues of that lovable children's story character Winnie The Pooh, scientific marvel Dolly the Cloned Sheep, footballer David Beckham, former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and one to be named the "Unknown Hooligan".
The empty plinth is one of four at the foot of Nelson's column, which dominates Trafalgar Square. Culture Secretary Chris Smith will decide what will be placed on the plinth when the committee, chaired by Sir John Mortimer, has made its recommendations.
One wonders, considering the literary output of the committee chairman, if the proposals include one slightly-aging, pot-bellied and lazy-eyed Leo McKernesque portrayal of that stalwart defender of British Law, Rumpole of the Bailey.
 WEATHERThe weather will be generally fair this afternoon, with skies being marked by some high passing cloud and the possibility of light scattered showers over the mountains. Winds will be moderate northeasterlies, 3-4BF, on moderate seas, while temperatures are not expected to exceed 22C inland and along the coasts, and 11C at higher altitudes.
Generally fair conditions are also forecast for tonight, with winds remaining northeasterly moderate, 3-4BF, on moderate seas, while temperatures will drop to 7C inland, 9C in coastal regions and 2C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.