|Friday, 24 May 2013|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 04-02-06
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
 HEADLINES-- An explosion, apparently caused by a suicide bomber, tore through a packed underground train in Moscow in morning rush-hour today, killing up to 40 people.
-- EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said today he believed a deal to reunite Cyprus before it joins the European Union in May was in the making with the convening of new U.N.-mediated peace talks.
-- The US has welcomed the invitation by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the parties in Cyprus to go to New York February 10 for a meeting which marks the resumption of peace talks on Cyprus.
-- The human toll from bird flu rose to 18 today with two more deaths in Vietnam a day after China said the virus had spread to more provinces and U.N. agencies chided Asian states for being slow to sound the alarm.
 RUSSIA EXPLOSIONAn explosion, apparently caused by a suicide bomber, tore through a packed underground train in Moscow in morning rush-hour today, killing up to 40 people.
An emergency ministry spokeswoman told Reuters that 100 more people were injured.
Interfax news agency, quoting ambulance sources, said the death toll had reached 40 and other sources said it could be even higher.
Rescued travellers said the explosion blew out carriage windows and started a fire. One woman said survivors walked about two km along the tracks to safety.
Police and state security officials said the explosion was likely caused by a suicide bomber on board the train, crammed with morning commuters.
Interfax quoted investigators as saying first information indicated a woman suicide bomber was behind the attack.
Suicide bomb attacks in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia have been the trademark of Chechen separatist rebels fighting Russian forces for independence in their Muslim Caucasus homeland.
The incident took place just six weeks before a March 14 election for president in which the incumbent Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win a second Kremlin term easily.
Mr. Putin, speaking after the said that terrorism must be defeated.
Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying that only by uniting forces, the Russians can deal with terrorism -- the scourge of the 21st century.
 VERHEUGEN CYPRUSEU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said today he believed a deal to reunite Cyprus before it joins the European Union in May was in the making with the convening of new U.N.-mediated peace talks.
"My view is that the resumption of talks means that the involved parties are basically already agreed that there will be a settlement," Mr. Verheugen told reporters after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in Brussels.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced on Wednesday he had invited the leaders of the two communities on the divided east Mediterranean island to New York next Tuesday for a crunch round of negotiations on his plan to end the 29-year-old conflict.
Mr. Verheugen said Mr. Annan would not have agreed to restart talks unless all sides had given him assurances of an outcome, adding that he would head a high-level EU team to New York next week to support the negotiations.
He said Mr. Annan's conditions are very clear and his understanding is that he would not resume talks without sufficient guarantees of the involved parties that those conditions are met. Therefore, Mr. Verheugen said, his view is that the conditions Mr. Annan has set out in his report are met.
Mr. Gul reaffirmed that Turkey wanted a deal before Cyprus enters the EU on May 1.
He said it was Turkey's our intention to finish everything before May, so they have to speed up everything.
The presence of European Commission experts in New York could help resolve issues involving the application of EU law in Cyprus as well as providing political support for the process.
 UN SPOKESMANUN Secretary General Kofi Annan considers Tuesday's meeting with the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides as another attempt on his part to secure a settlement.
Stephane Dujarric, Mr. Annan's spokesperson said yesterday that the UN Chief had not been in touch with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the past 24 hours, inviting Mr. Denktash to New York but had communicated with the Turkish Cypriot leader in writing.
The spokesperson also said Mr. Annan hopes that Mr. Denktash and the others he has invited to New York will attend Tuesday's meeting.
 US CYPRUS TALKSThe US has welcomed the invitation by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the parties in Cyprus to go to New York February 10 for a meeting which marks the resumption of peace talks on Cyprus, with a view at finding a negotiated settlement before the country accedes to the European Union on May 1 this year.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said State Department's special coordinator for Cyprus Ambassador Thomas Weston will be in New York on Tuesday for the talks.
Mr. Boucher reiterated US strong support for the good offices mission of the Secretary General and urged the parties to do likewise so as to assure that a settlement can be reached and a united Cyprus can enter the EU on May first.
 STRAW CYPRUSBritish Foreign Secretary Jack Straw stressed that the prize of accession to the EU by a reunited Cyprus this May is still within reach.
Referring to the invitation by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the parties concerned, for the resumption of Cyprus talks, Mr. Straw reassured in a written statement that Britain, as a guarantor power ''and strong supporter of the UNSG's good offices mission in Cyprus, will play its part fully''.
 SOLANA CYPRUSThe European Union is ready to offer every possible assistance towards a settlement in Cyprus, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for common foreign and security policy, said yesterday in Brussels after a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdulah Gul.
The question of Cyprus and Turkey's European prospects were two of the issues Mr. Solana and Mr. Gul discussed.
The EU senior official expressed hope that the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides will accept an invitation by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to go to New York to resume negotiations.
 MIDEASTPrime Minister Ariel Sharon's shock plan to uproot Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip appeared today to have boosted his sagging popularity in Israel amid a bribery scandal that could unseat him.
A poll in the mass circulation Maariv daily showed that 39 percent of those surveyed after Mr. Sharon unveiled his evacuation proposal on Monday were satisfied with his performance as prime minister compared with a record low of 33 percent last week.
Mr. Sharon, a long-time champion of settlement building on land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, has denied any self-serving motive in dropping his political bombshell over the future of the Gaza Strip.
Mirroring results of other polls this week, the Maariv survey found that 52 percent of the Israeli public supported unilateral evacuation of all of Israel's 21 Gaza settlements, with 36 percent opposed.
Sharon has proposed the removal of 17 of the settlements and has said several also would have to go in the West Bank if he carries out a threatened unilateral "disengagement" from the Palestinians should a U.S.-backed peace "road map" collapse.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath told Reuters that Israeli evacuation in Gaza should be followed by a similar step in the West Bank, where Israel has some 120 settlements.
 BIRDFLUThe human toll from bird flu rose to 18 today with two more deaths in Vietnam a day after China said the virus had spread to more provinces and U.N. agencies chided Asian states for being slow to sound the alarm.
The virus has ravaged poultry flocks in 10 countries and spread in China, home to the world's biggest poultry population. Authorities there said they faced a tough fight to defeat the disease and state television said that the virus may now have spread to 13 of China's 31 provinces.
Health experts say the human victims caught the flu from sick chickens and the virus is not being passed between people, but there are fears the bird flu virus could combine with a human flu virus and mutate into a new highly infectious disease.
A six-year-old girl and a 24-year-old man have died from bird flu in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh City, taking the country's toll to 13.
Five people have also died of the disease in Thailand, making the Asian human death toll 18.
More than 14 million of Vietnam's poultry flocks of 250 million have been destroyed so far. An alarmed Hanoi has banned the transport and sale of poultry and eggs nationwide.
Vietnam's prime minister has said he wants the virus controlled within this month.
 OBJECT VLITTISAn object which is believed to be an explosive device, was discovered outside the residence of Paralimni mayor Nicos Vlittis.
Police has cordoned off the area and is conducting investigations and explosives experts were called to the scene.
 WEATHERThis afternoon it will be mainly clear with some passing cloud. Winds will be south-westerly to westerly moderate, three to four beaufort and the sea slight.
Tonight it will remain clear with north-westerly to north-easterly light winds, two to three beaufort and the sea calm to slight. Temperatures will all to 6 degrees inland, eight on the coasts and minus one over the mountains where frost will form at dawn.