Daily Archives: August 18, 2012

Archives August 18, 2012 posted by

Recession? What Greek recession?

THEY haven’t seen such numbers for years: the local hotels are full, the campsite heaving, the restaurants running low on Indian frozen prawns and Egyptian squid. Despite the fast new motorway that promises Athens to Kalamata in two hours this small tip of the Peloponnese feels a million kilometres away from the street protests, pain of the public sector cuts and closing businesses of the capital. ‘Recession? What recession?” say our local friends.

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The rich, the poor and the hungry

TWO months ago, the United States Department of Agriculture forecast the biggest maize (corn) harvest in history: 376 million tonnes. After two months of record heat and drought in the US Midwest, it has dropped its forecast to 274 million tonnes. So by early July it was predicting that the price per bushel of maize would exceed $8 for the first time in history, and it’s now forecasting $8.90.

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Cheaper drugs in three months

 

A NEW pricing policy for medicines, expected to be fully implemented by the end of November, could lead to reductions between 15 and 50 per cent, Health Minister Stavros Malas said yesterday.

“We expect there will be a significant reduction, up to 50 per cent, on some medicines,” the minister said. “Generally, the reduction will be between 15 and 20 per cent.”

Malas said the cuts concern “the more expensive” medicines — those that cost over €10.

The minister said final decisions will be taken by the beginning of September, adding that some time will be given to pharmacies to sell the stock bought at a higher price.

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Our View: Teachers union only looking out for its members' own interests

LAST WEEK the primary school teachers’ union POED issued an announcement demanding a meeting with the education minister, to discuss the cutbacks in education because they were adversely affecting the government’s reform programme. The union was responding to the new appointments made by the government in primary education, which it saw as inadequate.

The government is obviously trying to cut down on its spending and has appointed fewer new teachers for the coming school year. And the teaching union, which seems to think of nothing other than the interests of its members, is concerned because teachers may have to work a little bit harder and not be able to take their full entitlement of sick leave, as many do, in the new school year.

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Jobless benefits cost €75m in first six months

THE state has paid close to €75 million in unemployment benefits in the first half of the year as the number of jobless keeps rising while the island plunges deeper into recession.

According to the social insurance service, €74.7 million was paid in the first six months of 2012, compared with €57.8 million in the same period last year.

The number of registered unemployed reached 36,452 at the end of last month and is expected to rise as Cyprus sinks deeper into recession.

Unemployment benefits are paid for six months but those who no longer receive them continue to be on the registry.

Preliminary data released by the statistics service this week, showed Cyprus recorded its fourth quarterly contraction in the second quarter

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Ballard’s Cyprus sea expedition ‘going well’

FAMED explorer Robert Ballard has told the Cyprus Mail his expedition over the Eratosthenes Seamount is currently collecting images during sweeps of the area using the latest technology to explore the sea floor.

Speaking via satellite phone from his ship the EV Nautilus, Ballard said his team, which comprises of geologists, marine biologists and oceonologists, will remain off the coast of Cyprus for the next two weeks and is conducting explorations at a depth of 800 metres. 

“Everything here is going well. It turns out that this seamount is caught in a head on collision – it’s being slammed into the island of Cyprus,” Ballard said.

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Cypriot pensioner found murdered in London

A 31-YEAR-OLD man was charged yesterday with stabbing to death a 79-year-old Cypriot pensioner in her North London flat. 

Mother-of-two Eleftheria Demetriou originally from Spathariko village in the Famagusta District was killed after being stabbed multiple times in her flat in Wood Green on Wednesday afternoon. 

The BBC said the woman was found with multiple stab wounds. An air ambulance crew rushed to the scene but within an hour, the pensioner was pronounced dead. 

According to British press reports, the suspect, Hakim Abdillahi, lived just a few doors down from Demetriou and used to help the Cypriot pensioner, known as ‘grandma’ or ‘auntie’ on the estate, with her shopping and with tending the balcony garden of her terrace flat.

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Putting the brakes on public projects

THE STATE is slamming the brakes on a series of planned public projects with the aim of saving €140m by revoking land expropriations now considered surplus to the state’s needs. 

The state owes some €570m to owners of land expropriated for the purposes of implementing public projects, including such ventures as the Paphos-Polis highway and Pentakomos Technological Park. 

Given the depressing state of public finances, the government has had to reassess the feasibility of implementing many of these projects. The aim is to cancel or downsize non-pressing projects, giving the state the opportunity to return expropriated land no longer deemed necessary, provided it has not already paid for the land.   

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Passengers of diverted flight asked how much cash they could stump up if it was necessary

THE CREW of an Air France plane that was re-routed to Cyprus via Damascus on Wednesday asked passengers how much cash they could stump up after Syrian authorities refused credit card payment to refuel the aircraft, it emerged yesterday.

Ultimately it found an alternative arrangement, it said.

The plane that was headed for Beirut on Wednesday night was diverted due to civil unrest in the Lebanese capital and sought to go to Amman, but it was forced to land in Syria due to lack of fuel.

Air France stopped its flights to Damascus in March as fighting in the country escalated, and relations between France and Syria have collapsed since Paris demanded that President Bashar al-Assad step down.

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Lone Turkish Cypriot marks Cyprus’ independence

 

A TURKISH Cypriot pensioner living in occupied Nicosia appeared to be the only person on the island celebrating Cyprus’ independence on Thursday. 

On August 16, 1960, Cyprus gained independence from its colonial master the United Kingdom, after an anti-colonial and pro-union with Greece campaign by the Greek Cypriot militant organisation EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters). 

However, the Republic of Cyprus officially celebrates its independence every October 1, not August 16. And not all Cypriots mark the day either, with a substantial number of Turkish Cypriots showing their allegiance to the breakaway state in the north declared in 1983, nine years after the Turkish invasion. 

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