Monthly Archives: November 2011

Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Scuffles break out at potato farmers' protest in Vrysoulles

14:20 SCUFFLES broke out in Vrysoulles at around 1pm today between British sovereign base area (SBA) police and potato packers on strike, after the police reportedly intervened to secure the entry of non-union foreign workers to the local co-operative company for agricultural products (SEDIGEP).

According to sources on the scene, there are around 50 policemen and approximately 60 noisy but non violent protestors present.

“The SBA police have been in attendance as part of an ongoing operation to enforce law and order.”The SBA police said in a statement this afternoon.

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Our View: Pre-retirement promotion is equal to theft

09:35 DESPITE the precarious state of public finances and the supposed reform of the way state pensions and retirement bonuses were being calculated, the unacceptable practices continue. Civil servants are still being promoted one week before they are due to retire, thus maximising their retirement bonus and monthly state pension at the expense of the taxpayer.

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Unions not disposed to austerity measures

09:32 LABOUR unions yesterday signalled they would not accept austerity measures forced on to them as the government and parties scramble to shore up the ailing economy to avoid a bailout and EU sanctions.

Unions were yesterday briefed by the finance ministry permanent secretary on measures discussed between President Demetris Christofias and main opposition DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades on Thursday.

Anastassiades later said his party will support the measures, including a two percentage point rise in VAT to 17 per cent.

The measures provide for a two-year pay freeze in the state sector – including the cost of living allowance and pay scale rises – as well as private sector worker contributions.

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Banks announce huge losses because of Greek ‘haircut’

CYPRUS banks yesterday announced losses for the first nine months of the year after taking provisions for a Greek sovereign debt swap.

The largest lender, Bank of Cyprus (BoC) posted an €801 million net loss, followed by Marfin Popular (MPB), which recorded a €282 million loss and Hellenic with €72 million.

BoC said the total impact of its participation in a voluntary swap of Greek government bonds with a 50 per cent impairment, including related hedging adjustments, amounted to €1.04 billion for the first nine months of 2011.

The nominal value of Greek government bonds held by the Group totalled €2.09 billion at the end of September.

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Gas value could amount to $18b

THE DIRECT proceeds from the discovery of natural gas off the island’s southern coast could amount to $18 billion, a University of Cyprus professor has forecast.

Panos Papanastasiou, who heads the civil engineering department at the state university, was referring to the value of unproved reserves, estimated to be between 3 and 9 trillion cubic feet within the gas prospect known as Block 12.

Papanastasiou, who has been appointed to a five-member group of experts advising the government on natural gas issues, said there was a high probability of more hydrocarbons being discovered in other plots.

Speaking yesterday at a lecture in Limassol, Papanastasiou said that due to political reasons a pipeline from Cypriot gas prospects to Turkey does not seem possible.

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Bill to stop pre-retirement promotions ‘gone missing’

MISSING in action: a government bill aimed at freezing promotions in the civil service 12 months prior to retirement.

Work on the bill began after an agreement between the political parties and the President earlier this year; the measure was intended to be part of the second austerity package designed to curtail the civil service payroll.

The talks settled on an 18-month freeze on promotions, but at the time the Attorney-general issued a legal opinion saying such a measure would be unconstitutional.

Under public service laws, a civil servant is promoted based on three criteria: job evaluation, qualifications and experience (seniority), by order of relevance. The Public Service Commission rubberstamps a promotion based on a co-assessment of these three criteria.

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Supreme Court: no student grants until military or alternative service completed

THE SUPREME Court yesterday ruled that a person who has not completed his military or alternative service cannot receive a student grant from the state. 

Judge George Erotocritou yesterday rejected an appeal by Eleni Ioannou against the Finance Ministry’s decision not to afford her son a student grant for the academic year 2010-2011. 

During that period, her son Leandros Ioannou was a student at the University of Nicosia while also serving in the public service as an alternative to his military service due to a disability.  

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

‘Cypriot mentality to sex must change’

CYPRUS society still has a long way to go before it breaks taboos related to sexual health was the bleak assessment of the House Education committee yesterday.

The committee’s head, Nicos Tornaritis said that Cypriot mentality towards sex had to change and conservatism had to be overcome by enlightening youths, teachers and adults in general.

Tornaritis was speaking during a Committee visit to the Sexperience exhibition which opened up this week at the Peace Hall on Ledras Street and was organised by the Cyprus Family Planning Association (CFPA) to celebrate its 40 years of operation.

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Archives November 30, 2011 posted by

Mavrou: judge our work for yourselves

ELENI Mavrou, the incumbent Nicosia mayor running for a second term, yesterday presented her electoral programme summarising the work done over her term and presenting her future plans for the residents of Nicosia to evaluate.

Talking about the huge amount of work done over the past five years which at times has made the capital look like a single construction zone, Mavrou said all the projects had been long overdue.

 “Basic infrastructure was lacking in Nicosia… road works, infrastructure, traffic, restoration of traditional neighbourhoods.” 

“We emphasised (works) over the past five years, restructuring services, successfully claiming funding, fighting against bureaucracy,” Mavrou said. 

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