Daily Archives: November 12, 2011

Archives November 12, 2011 posted by

Italy vote clears way for Berlusconi resignation

Italy’s parliament gave final approval to a financial stability law today, paving the way for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to resign and make way for an emergency government headed by former European Commissioner Mario Monti.

Berlusconi, who failed to secure a majority in a crucial vote on Tuesday, promised to resign once parliament passed the package of economic reforms, demanded by European partners to restore confidence in Italy’s strained public finances.

He is due to hand in his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano after a cabinet meeting that will mark the final act of the Berlusconi government and bring an end to one of the most scandal-plagued eras in Italy’s post-war history.

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Arab League suspends Syria, demands end to killing

The Arab League suspended Syria and called on its army to stop killing civilians in a surprise move on Saturday that turned up the heat on President Bashar al-Assad.

The League will impose economic and political sanctions on Syria’s government and has appealed to member states to withdraw their ambassadors, said Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani. It will also call a meeting of Syrian opposition parties, he said.

“We were criticised for taking a long time but this was out of our concern for Syria,” Sheikh Hamad told reporters at the League’s headquarters in Cairo. “We needed to have a majority to approve those decisions.”

Syria’s representative at the Arab League said the decision was “not worth the ink it was written with”.

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Turkish commandos shoot dead lone ferry hijacker

Turkish commandos killed a lone hijacker, identified as a Kurdish militant armed with a bomb, in a pre-dawn operation on Saturday to rescue more than 20 passengers and crew held hostage for 12 hours on a high-speed ferry near Istanbul.

Hostages aboard the “Kartepe” ferry later described how the hijacker was shot dead minutes after the commandos slipped aboard.

“There was no chance left we’d capture him alive. The long phone calls to persuade him (to surrender) failed,” Interior Minister Idris Sahin told NTV news channel, adding that 450 grammes of plastic explosive were found on the body.

None of the 18 passengers or six crew were hurt, but some were taken to a hospital for checks after their ordeal.

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Ireland and Croatia all but seal Euro 2012 places

Ireland and Croatia erased bad memories with stunning football and seven goals on Friday as they made preliminary bookings for the Euro 2012 football finals by crushing Estonia and Turkey away.

In the other playoff first legs, Czech Republic overcame Montenegro 2-0 in Prague where Vaclav Pilar scored after 63 minutes and Tomas Sivok in added time while Bosnia and Portugal slugged out a goalless draw on a poor surface in Zenica.

Ireland, seeking to forget the disappointment of their infamous ‘Henry handball’ playoff defeat by France in the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, won 4-0 in Estonia in their first leg while Croatia beat the Turks 3-0 in Istanbul.

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Kazamias: bailout will be the last resort

FINANCE Minister Kikis Kazamias last night announced a raft of cabinet-approved cuts to student grants and child benefits slated to save €20 million and €80 million respectively.

Kazamias said another €100 million would be saved through cuts in other benefits.

Earlier in the day he told an economic conference in Nicosia that the outlook for 2012 was not favourable. “A key factor is the very difficult external environment, and the climate of confidence in the Cyprus economy also remains negative,” he said. 

Kazamias said the necessary adjustment of public finances would affect the growth rate, which would only be a sluggish 0.2 per cent next year. “As a result of this unemployment is likely to see a further upward trend,” he said. 

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Our View: Education ministry should not interfere with fee levels of private universities

THE TUITION fee rises imposed by the three private universities for this academic year were in violation of the law as the approval of the education minister had not been secured. According to the law, proposed rises in fees had to be submitted to the minister who had the authority to impose a ceiling, based on certain criteria.

However, none of the universities followed this procedure (two imposed six-per cent rises and the other three per cent) and could be fined or have their licences revoked, the latter being an impracticable provision, as it would penalise students in the middle of their studies. Education minister Giorgos Demosthenous told the House finance committee he would be writing to the universities asking them to cancel the fee rises.

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‘Government was warned about the economy’ opposition says

THE negative economic forecasts for Cyprus published by the EU on Thursday (click link below to read) prompted fresh criticism yesterday of the government, which was blamed for failing to take measures to prevent the downward spiral.

On Thursday the EU warned it would impose sanctions if Cyprus did not bring its deficit down to the required level – under 3.0 per cent.

The government said yesterday it expected its deficit for this year to be under 6.0 per cent – the EU expects 6.7 per cent – and under 3.0 per cent in 2012.

Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias said Cyprus will seek a balanced budget in 2013.

DIKO vice chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said yesterday that the people who had been warning the government for years had been vindicated.

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Cabinet appoints advisory body on gas

THE CABINET has appointed a five-member group of experts to advise the government on natural gas issues, it was announced yesterday.

“The advisory group will be dealing with the long-term strategic planning concerning the extraction and management of hydrocarbons,” government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.

They will also deal with the management of the potential gas reserves in block 12 – a concession where exploratory drilling is currently underway by US-based oil company Noble Energy.

The group will answer directly to President Demetris Christofias.

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Aradippou wins 11.11.11 weddings’ race

AROUND 170 civil weddings took place all over Cyprus yesterday marking the date 11.11.11 but Aradippou in Larnaca snagged the most ceremonies, marrying 100 couples.

Aradippou mayor Christakis Liperis said all of the couples came from Israel where there is no civil marriage.  Aradippou municipality has specialised in weddings for Israeli couples for the past 15 years, he said.

Liperis said that other so-called auspicious date s  such as 10.10.10 has also brought more couples to the island and he said he expects an even bigger turn out for 12.12.12. 

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