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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Technical itch hits Radio Cyprus
Feral cats have been living round the station for years

Cyprus state radio has been forced to suspend live programming after an infestation of fleas, attributed to scores of stray cats that live around the station's premises.

"The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) announces that due to the immediate need to spray its studios, Radio 1 and Radio 2 will broadcast recorded programs until 2100 tonight, with news on the hour," an announcer told listeners on Tuesday.

"The problem with the cats is causing a terrible situation, there are hundreds of them and they are running into the studios and onto the roof," one reporter said.

"At one point, a cat fell through the roof and landed on someone's head."


The infestation was first noticed when CyBC staff reported sick and the cause of the illness was traced to the flea-ridden strays.

"This was a little unexpected, but it's also inevitable when you have all these strays wandering around," senior manager Michalis Stylianou said.

"We are proposing the cats either get vaccinated or gotten rid of," he said.

"The dog should also go."

According to the French news agency AFP, the station's unofficial mascot, Rika the poodle, is also believed to be a culprit.

A CyBC memo to staff said the studios would be closed for 24 hours while they are fumigated.

"We were told a day would do, but now we are hearing this could go on for the better part of this week", a staff member told the agency.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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