Daily Archives: July 7, 2010

Archives July 7, 2010 posted by

Moody’s downgrades ratings of Marfin and BoC

MOODY’S, one of the world’s most important credit ratings agencies, has downgraded the deposit and debt ratings of Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) to Baa2/Prime-2 from A3/Prime-1 and of Bank of Cyprus (BoC) to A3/Prime-2 from A2/Prime-1. At the same time, Moody’s confirmed the deposit and debt ratings of Hellenic Bank at Baa2/Prime-2.

Moody’s said the outlook on all the banks’ ratings is negative, reflecting their direct and large exposure to the Greek economy through their operations in Greece, and their relative capacity to manage the resulting pressure on asset quality, earnings and capitalisation. There are also concerns about the economic conditions in Cyprus and the performance of its domestic real estate market.

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Turkey repeats calls for international conference

TURKISH FOREIGN Minister Ahmet Davutoglu repeated calls for an international conference on Cyprus yesterday in an interview with Hurriyet Daily News.

Davutoglu told the paper that a conference could speed up the negotiation process for a solution on the island. The only condition Turkey sets for this conference was that the two communities have equal status at the table.

“It could either be in a three-plus-three or a three-plus-two format. Our sole condition is providing equal status to the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leadership,” he was quoted saying.

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Free groceries for needy within a year

LIMASSOL Municipality is hoping to open a grocery store offering free food for those in need by the end of the year.

The community grocery store will offer a complete range of supermarket goods, excluding higher end luxury items, to Limassol families and individuals who are facing financial difficulties.

“The scheme is based on offering food and other goods from existing supermarkets to this grocery store, which will give quantities of food to a number of families for six months,” Limassol Mayor Andreas Christou said. “After six months, other families will be entitled to the service”.

The Limassol Social Welfare Committee will consider applications and decide which families are entitled to take part in the scheme.

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Reports linking spy escape to Russia ‘unfounded’

PRESS REPORTS linking the escape of alleged spy fugitive Christopher Robert Metsos to Cyprus’ close relationship with Moscow were “completely unfounded”, Attorney-general Petros Clerides said yesterday.

The state’s top lawyer argued that the Legal Service had provided enough evidence in court for the remand of Metsos, noting it wasn’t the first time a court decided not to hold a wanted spy in custody.

Clerides referred to another case where an alleged spy was released on bail and ended up fleeing the island. In that specific case, it was Russia seeking his extradition.

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Peaceful memorial blocked by protestors

FIVE MEN blocked a group of 50 Greek and Turkish Cypriots on Sunday who went to lay flowers outside the Shioupouris house in Palaikythro, where 17 Greek Cypriot women and children were killed in August 1974.

The event was the initiative of Panikos Neocleous, author of The Ignored: 1974, on the occasion of the publication of his new book, Remembrances. The group visited the villages of Palaikythro and Maratha to pay their respects to both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot women and children killed there in 1974.

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Farmers asked to give EU funding back

FARMING UNION Panagrotikos was yesterday at the centre of a financial scandal, after it emerged farmers were being asked to return EU funds that weren’t used properly.

The Cyprus Agricultural Payments Organisation (KOAP) is calling on the union to return some €194,000, which was meant to be used to promote Cypriot farming products in the EU and third countries, but which it said wasn’t done well enough.

The matter was discussed at yesterday’s House Watchdog Committee, where Auditor-general Chrystalla Yiorkadji also announced that a case had been opened involving a scam in the farming sector involving around €5 million.

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Beach improvements held up by red tape

IMPROVEMENTS at one of only two sandy beaches in Paphos will not be complete for even part of the season due to red tape and bureaucracy, President of the beaches committee for Paphos municipality, Nicos Similides said yesterday.

“If this were my personal business I would’ve opened a year ago. The season is already half way through and I can’t see the new café and other work being completed in time,” he said.

He said the slow moving process of bureaucracy and procedure is the biggest problem Cyprus faces. “Each step of the way we have to run everything past the municipality and the council and we only meet every two weeks, it’s a long process.”

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On the bus

 

Cyprus’ much touted island-wide bus system launched on Monday but is it any good? Sophia Panayotou goes for a spin round Nicosia

SITTING ON one of Nicosia’s new, air-conditioned buses it’s easy to feel as though you are in an efficient European country, until the driver starts violently waving a paper with the bus’ destination at waiting passengers.

For a time, it seemed as though up-to-date public transportation was impossible but the Communications Ministry appears to have accomplished it with the new bus system implemented Monday. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. On a closer look it becomes apparent that the bus system somehow manages to be both modern and archaic.

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Justice ministry report reveals fines uncollected and Ayia Napa short of policemen

ALMOST €100 million of fines remained uncollected in 2008, €60 million of which was bound for state coffers, the House Watchdog Committee heard yesterday.

“Inefficiency and bureaucracy are preventing the republic from collecting around 150,000 fines, of which €93 million remain uncollected for 2008 and of which €53 million is clear state income,” said Committee Chairman, DISY’s George Georgiou. “The same bureaucracy and state inefficiency has left 20,000 traffic violation fines totalling €6 million uncollected.”

The data was part of the Auditor-general’s 2008 report on the Justice Ministry, which the Committee examined yesterday.

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Disabled need greater access to media

CYPRUS IS IN danger of being sanctioned by the EU for failing to implement an EU directive on radio and television broadcasts for people with disabilities.

According to the Green Party’s George Perdikes, the directive partly concerns disabled people’s access to radio and television channels, and it hasn’t yet been promoted for implementation in Cyprus.

He was speaking after yesterday’s House Human Rights Committee had convened to discuss disabled people’s access to the media.

“There is a possibility for the Cyprus Republic to be punished with EU sanctions for not promoting the implementation of an EU directive for radio and television channels, which partly concerns presentations to people with disabilities,” said Perdikes.

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