Daily Archives: July 3, 2010

Archives July 3, 2010 posted by

MP increase plan on hold

AKEL and DISY’s hopes to push through legislation to increase the number of MPs in parliament in time for the elections next year were scuppered yesterday when they were forced to withdraw the bill.

The two largest political parties said yesterday they had decided to withdraw their request that changes be made to the electoral law before the House stops for the summer recess next week, This means any amendments cannot now take place in time for next year’s parliamentary elections but will now apply for the 2016 elections.

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Spy suspect apparently flies the island coop

THE ALLEGED Russian paymaster responsible for handling a spy ring of “deep cover” agents in the US is suspected of fleeing the island, Justice Minister Loucas Louca said yesterday.

Christopher Robert Metsos, 54, was stopped at Larnaca airport last Tuesday after being accused by the US of supplying funds to a group of ten suspected Russian agents arrested in the US last Sunday.

The Canadian passport holder was arrested and taken to Larnaca district court where the prosecution requested his remand until extradition to the US could be arranged. To the horror of the police, and “disappointment” of the US State Department, Metsos was released on bail of €26,500. He jumped bail the very next day and has since gone missing.

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Our View: Draft-dodging bill should not be rushed

THE HOUSE Defence Committee made the right call in resisting pressure to send the National Guard bill to the plenum for approval before the summer recess. The bill is a radical revision of the 1964 National Guard law and consists of 57 chapters which would need close and meticulous study. Too often have committees sent bills for approval, only to realise once they have become law that there were glaring omissions or provisions that were unconstitutional.

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Attorney-general support for CyTA in digital bid

THE Chairman of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) was within his legal rights to overstep a parliament decision banning the authority from applying for the second digital platform, the Attorney-general said yesterday.

CyTA chairman Stathis Kittis was invited to explain why the authority had gone ahead and joined the auction, even though the relevant funds had been frozen by parliament, to the House Institutions Committee yesterday. The Committee convened in an extraordinary session on the orders of the Plenum on Thursday.

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We’re no longer a tax haven

CYPRUS is no longer considered a tax haven as its real tax rate now nearly reaches the EU average, a recent Eurostat report has shown.

Analysing the report yesterday, the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), Manthos Mavrommatis, said Cyprus’ 39.2 per cent real tax rate was very close to the EU 27 average of 39.3 per cent.

“Therefore, we are no longer a low tax rate country, like we were in 2000 (30.0 per cent) compared to the European Union (40.6 per cent) and like many wrongfully continue to believe,” said Mavrommatis. “The Cypriot state is draining its civilians’ and businesses’ incomes just like the rest of the European Union is doing today.”

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Government loan ‘a one-way street’

The head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), Manthos Mavrommatis, yesterday said borrowing from banks abroad would be the worst thing for any economy, when asked to comment on the government’s decision to take out a €500 million loan from two local banks.

“Cyprus is dealing with big public deficits, in the range of six per cent (of the GDP),” he explained. “Therefore, resorting to loaning from abroad to cover our deficits – either now or after a few months – is a one-way street.”

He added: “There’s nothing worse than foreign loaning for any economy today. This is one reason why restricting the public deficit should be a top priority, so we can have the least possible need to resort to foreign loaning.”

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Unemployment up

EUROSTAT yesterday published its unemployment figures for May and the news is not so good for Cyprus, where unemployment has increased to 7.2 per cent of the active population compared to April’s 6.9 per cent.

It’s still lower than the average of the Eurozone, which ranged at 10 per cent, as well as the whole of the EU, where 9.6 per cent of the active population is unemployed.

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British children used to pick up drugs

A 36-YEAR-OLD in Paralimni has been using two nine-year-olds British children to pick up drugs for him, it emerged in a drug bust on Thursday.

The two were seen picking up an envelope containing 65 grams of cannabis resin from the postal box of an empty apartment in Paralimni. The apartment had been under surveillance by the police at the time, after they had received information about another box of an unoccupied apartment being used as a drug pick up point last Friday.

Following the tip off last Friday, the police had located two envelopes containing a quantity of cannabis in the postal box.

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Minister determined to push ahead with bus scheme

THE GOVERNMENT will not let political expediency hold up the launch of an island-wide bus service, said Communications and Works Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoulli yesterday.

Parliament approved the bill for an island-wide service on Thursday, but decided to postpone the scheme’s implementation from July 5 until September 15. Deputies called on the government to use the intervening months to settle the rate of compensation given to bus companies not wishing to join the new system, known as OSEL.

However, Markoulli said yesterday that everything was in place for implementation of the new public transport system on Monday, arguing there was no reason for delay.

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CY chairman resigns

CYPRUS AIRWAYS (CY) chairman of the board Kikis Lazarides has handed in his resignation which was finally accepted by President Demetris Christofias.

According to an announcement by the national airline yesterday, Lazarides handed in his resignation on Thursday at the Presidential Palace. He was asked to remain in his position until new arrangements could be made. The board was convened the same day where members were informed of the decision.

According to yesterday’s Phileleftheros, this was the third time Lazarides had submitted his resignation, though this time it was accepted.

At the airline’s 63rd annual general meeting last month, Lazarides had spoken in favour of the proposed merger with Eurocypria.

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