Daily Archives: July 2, 2011

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Cuts home in on public sector

THE government yesterday announced plans to cut the number of civil servants by 5,000 in the next five years and reduce the payroll cost for new hires, as part of a raft of proposed measures to shore up the economy and correct structural problems.

The package, agreed by the government and coalition partners AKEL and DIKO, was announced yesterday by government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.

Stefanou did not say how much the state expects to save or collect should the measures be implemented and did not provide any other figures or timeframes.

More details will be presented to party leaders during a meeting with President Demetris Christofias on July 8.

Stefanou said the government’s aim was for the measures to be implemented immediately.

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Our View: CTO’s plans to develop Dasoudi lacking both logic and authority

PUBLIC pressure, thankfully, has forced the CTO to re-consider its construction plans for the Dasoudi area of Limassol, one of the few remaining natural spots in a town covered in concrete. CTO chairman Alecos Orountiotis said that plans to build a two-storey underground car park, a big functions room that would presumably host weddings and more restaurants, would be put on hold until Tuesday.

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In the right direction, but are they too late?

PARTIES yesterday said the measures proposed by the government to shore up the economy were in the right direction but they warned they might be too little too late to convince international markets and ratings agencies.

Speaking after a closed doors session of the House Finance Committee during which MPs were briefed on developments in the economy and the proposed measures, Government coalition DIKO vice chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos appeared satisfied and “relieved”.

Papadopoulos struck a note of caution, saying it was not enough to announce such measures “but to also implement them”.

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No escaping the army, new recruits warned

DEFENCE Minister Costas Papacostas voiced his conviction yesterday that the new, stricter army law would help the state effectively tackle draft dodging.

“Everything that could possibly be done to stamp out draft dodging, based on what the law allows, has been done,” Papacostas told a press conference at the National Guard Officers’ Club in Nicosia.

The minister said his department is in a position to implement the law “effectively”, calling on all involved to apply it to the letter.

The new law, which includes stricter provisions for those seeking to get out of doing their service, was seen as a necessary measure to stop an estimated 20 per cent of new conscripts avoiding the draft on psychological or disability grounds each year.

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Illegal bird trapping up by nearly 10 per cent

ILLEGAL BIRD trapping in spring 2011 was nine per cent higher than spring 2010, and 72 per cent higher than in 2009 according to the latest report by Birdlife Cyprus.

According to their latest report, released just ahead of next week’s European conference on the illegal killing of birds in Larnaca, the figures “make for gloomy reading and add to the overall, disastrous, picture regarding trends in trapping on the island”.

In addition to the spiralling number of birds killed, almost 1.5 km (1,475 metres) of active net rides was identified by the Bird Life survey team.

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New SMS scam made away with hundreds of thousands euros

THE COMMERCE Ministry has dished out a record fine of €200,000 to a company roping consumers into subscribing to their SMS service at considerable cost.

A company called WIN A. E. lured people via free scratch cards to send a free message to numbers 6169 and 6116 to claim their prize, an announcement from the Commerce Ministry yesterday said.

Most people failed to read the fine print stating that they would also be subscribing to expensive bi-weekly SMS messages.

People got scammed out of hundreds of thousands euros which is why the company got such a hefty fine, the Cyprus Mail was told.

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MPs discuss EU common corporate tax behind closed doors

 

THE HOUSE finance committee yesterday discussed behind closed doors the European Council’s proposal for a unified corporate tax across the EU.

The discussion took place in the context of council of Europe’s suggestions on a national reform programme – a set of recommendations for the economy.

“The meeting was behind closed doors because it involved sensitive issues about Cyprus as a financial centre,” the finance committee’s acting president, DISY’s Christos Stylianides said yesterday.

Franco-German proposals for a universal tax rate has been making Cyprus along with other member states jittery.

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Cabbies pushing for further concessions over buses

 

TAXI drivers have rejected the Communications Minister’s proposal to raise some bus fares and put a cap on the number and frequency of night buses islandwide, saying that it falls short of their demands.

“Buses are taking away our livelihood,” taxi drivers’ union representative Kyriacos Moustakas said yesterday.

The Urban Taxi Drivers’ Federation (POAT) met with the minister on Wednesday to hear her proposed measures designed to allay their fears from the competition they face from public buses, especially in the Famagusta area where the bus service has become particularly well organised and widely used by tourists.

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Smooth switchover to digital TV

CYPRUS’ entry into the digital world at midnight yesterday went smoothly, with no major problems being reported.

According to the head of the Communications Ministry’s Department of Electronic Communications, Stelios Chimonas, everything went well, while the necessary adjustments were made by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) and consortium Velister, to ensure the areas that don’t receive the digital signal yet, will receive the analogue one for another few months.

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Russian tourist drowns in pool

 

A 30-YEAR-OLD Russian tourist was found drowned on Thursday in the pool of the house she was staying at in Ayios Tyhonas, Limassol.

An autopsy carried out yesterday showed that the cause of death was drowning and that her body did not suffer any outer injuries, ruling out the possibility of foul play.

Police said that one of the owners of the house was sitting with her by the pool but then went inside for a few minutes. When she came back out she found the 30-year-old floating unconscious in the pool.

Initial tests determined that she had been drinking heavily, police said yesterday.

 

 

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