Daily Archives: June 2, 2012

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Bring on the bunting and raise a glass

BRITAIN IS bedecked in bunting like some giant stage set for an Alan Ayckbourn play. Every pub, shop and garage has burst out in a patriotic rash. Of course, it’s the weekend of the jubilant Jubilee, the summer of the Olympics, a hope at Wimbledon that Andy will thrill the fans on Murray Mount and the extraordinary possibility that Beckham might lead his national side once more against a Latin American team. 

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Now is the time for Cyprus to access bailout facility

 

THERE ARE many jokes these days about Cyprus Popular Bank, or Laiki Bank as it is known locally, after the government announced its plans to effectively nationalise the bank. My favourite one goes something like this. Two thieves open up their bag after a bank robbery. As they pull out their loot from the bag, they realise that the bag is actually full of Greek government bonds. One thief yells to the other, “You see! I told you we shouldn’t have robbed Laiki!”

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Christofias’ pledge to ‘the workers’

 

NO NEW measures to curtail the rights of workers will be taken during this government’s tenure, said President Demetris Christofias yesterday, during a televised press conference where he defended his “balanced” and “socially sensitive” response to the economic crisis. 

The president appeared irate at reports that the government was preparing measures affecting civil servants’ pensions and their one-off retirement bonus as part of efforts to meet the fiscal target of a 2.5 per cent public deficit for 2012. 

In recent weeks, Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly and his officials have been brainstorming ideas for covering a gap of €150m to €200m, which prevents Cyprus from meeting its deficit pledge to the EU. 

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Our View: Forget plafonds and hire staff for the CPC

THE NEW head of the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC), Loukia Christodoulou, did not say anything new when she told a House committee meeting that the Commission was in no position to protect consumers from monopolies, profiteering and cartels. The ineffectiveness of the CPC has been well-known for years, its record blighted by failure, uncompleted investigations and frequent changes of Commissioner that have made its smooth functioning impossible.

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Christofias: my conscience is clear on Mari

WHILE HE deeply regretted the loss of life from the Mari naval base blast last July, President Demetris Christofias said his conscience was clear.  

Asked during yesterday’s televised press conference whether he felt he should have acted differently before or after the Mari blast, Christofias replied that he was “truly sorry” for the loss of life but that the responsibility did not lie with him.

Independent investigator Polys Polyviou had apportioned a great deal of blame for the blast on the president, but according to Christofias, the police report, based on the testimonies of people who were present, painted a “completely different” picture regarding where responsibilities lay for the explosion and loss of life.

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‘Price caps law could backfire’

THE HEAD of the Committee for Protection of Competition (CPC) yesterday said she was concerned parliament’s decision to pass a law allowing the government to set price caps on certain basic consumer commodities could backfire.

According to Loukia Christodoulou, the new law could lead to further price fixing, as well as a reduction in production and quality.

She said the CPC felt that setting price caps on water, milk, bread, Cypriot coffee and electricity was not in the consumer’s best interests.

The bill initially referred to bread, milk and water, while Cypriot coffee and electricity –which the legal services have already said couldn’t be included in the law – were subsequently added by deputies.

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Shiarly feeling the heat

 

THE FINANCE minister said yesterday that fresh measures for the economy would be announced soon, seeking to put an end to a public spat over their publication, which the opposition said had been stopped by ruling AKEL.

Following a comment by the finance minister on a radio news show on Thursday morning that he would make an announcement regarding the measures in the afternoon, it had been widely expected that he would be publishing fresh measures to reign in the deficit.

It did not happen and reports suggested it had been stopped by AKEL, which does not agree with some of the measures.

DISY and DIKO yesterday called on Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly to preserve his dignity by resigning. 

Shiarly said it was a misunderstanding.

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Pilots reject rescue package

CYPRUS Airways (CY) pilots yesterday rejected a labour ministry rescue plan, which other unions and the company board accepted, and renewed their call for resignation of the management.

“The mediation proposal submitted by the labour minister is inadequate, it does not have a business plan to rescue the company, it does not have offsetting measures for the workers and most importantly it is without prospects for tomorrow,” the pilot’s union PASYPI said.

The airline’s other unions accepted the proposal.

The minister’s mediation came after unions rejected a plan drafted by the board, which in turn deemed as inadequate an earlier proposal submitted by Charalambous.

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Greek authorities undecided on Tsalikidis

 

GREEK authorities yesterday informed the Cyprus government they were considering filing charges against – and by extension preventing the release of – former National Guard chief Petros Tsalikidis, wanted here in relation to last July’s naval base blast. 

Tsalikidis presented himself to judicial authorities in his home city of Thessaloniki on Thursday. 

Attorney-general Petros Clerides authorised the issue of a European arrest warrant on May 9.

Tsalikidis – a Greek national – has failed to show up twice at Larnaca District Court to be referred along with seven other people to the criminal court.

He faces two main charges along with the others: of causing death through want of precaution, and homicide through gross negligence. 

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Schulz confident on Cyprus’ presidency

EUROPEAN Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz yesterday said he was very impressed with Cyprus’ level of preparation for its EU presidency starting in July.

Schulz said Cyprus was facing some huge challenges with the upcoming presidency and was pleased to see there was an excellent level of knowledge on the various issues.

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