Daily Archives: December 4, 2012

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Eurogroup calls for speedy deal

 

EUROGROUP president Jean-Claude Juncker last night urged Cyprus and the EU/IMF to seal the deal on a bailout as soon as possible.

“I call on Cyprus and the EU/IMF troika to conclude on the proposed terms of a programme in order to reach agreement on an adjustment package in a timely manner,” Juncker said after the Eurogroup meeting.

Euro zone finance ministers met last night to discuss the terms of a Greek debt buy-back and review a Cypriot bailout.

“The Eurogroup will discuss the interim results of the due diligence exercise on the capital needs of the financial sector and its implications for programme financing on December 13,” Juncker said after the meeting.

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Our View: Paying lip service to ceding power to local authorities

THE ROLE of local government, in these difficult times, was very important in maintaining social cohesion, said President Christofias in a speech at the AGM of the Union of Municipalities. Christofias said that the need for decentralisation of power was a priority as was the strengthening of the financial and administrative self-sufficiency of local authorities.

We have been hearing about the need of central government to cede powers to local government for years, as it is a policy directive of the EU which has decided that local democracy is more representative. Citizens have a bigger say in what happens in local government which is why it made sense to give it more powers.

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Prices to rise as more people living under poverty line

 

FOOD PRODUCERS yesterday warned that the prices of staple items like milk, bread and meat will rise, adding to the woes of Cypriot households already contemplating shrinking incomes as a result of austerity measures and tax hikes on the way. 

According to the state broadcaster yesterday, food producers warned that the ever-rising price of grain has left them with no choice but to increase the retail price of their products in January. 

Cattle farmer representatives told CyBC that producers have absorbed the increasing grain prices for long enough, and can do so no longer. 

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Shacolas family offer to feed poor school children for a year

THE EXECUTIVE chairman of the Shacolas Group, Nicolas Shacolas, yesterday announced that his family and the Shacolas Group will collaborate to ensure poor primary school pupils are fed next year. 

According to an announcement, a committee chaired by former health minister Charis Charalambous has been set up to liaise with the Education Ministry and find ways to implement the feeding programme for one year.  

The project will commence on the return of primary children to their schools in the new year.  

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Peeping Tom put cam in ladies toilet

 

A 33-YEAR-OLD college employee was yesterday remanded in custody for eight days on suspicion of placing a secret camera in the ladies’ toilet of his workplace. 

According to online news portal Sigmalive, the college management reported to police on November 26 that a hidden camera was operating in the ladies’ toilet of the college. Investigators went to the scene where they found a mobile USB ‘spy’ camera in the women’s toilet which was in operation. 

They confiscated it as evidence, reportedly finding 129 videos and a number of photographs on it that had been previously recorded. 

Further investigation led police to a 33-year-old male employee of the college who was arrested and remanded for eight days yesterday. 

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Public transport grinds to a halt

PUBLIC transport islandwide, except for Paphos, ground to a halt yesterday as drivers in the Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol and Famagusta districts staged a strike over wages.

Bus drivers on intercity buses and school buses also took part in the strike called after drivers did not receive their November salaries. 

The strike left thousands of people inconvenienced, some of whom sat, unaware, at bus stops waiting for transport home that was not coming.

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Twenty years of texting, people send 2.8 million messages a day through CyTA

TWENTY years ago, yesterday, Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old British engineer sent the first ever text message from his computer, with the message “Merry Christmas” to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone.

In Cyprus in 2012 roughly 2.87 million text messages are sent daily, according to the island’s main telecommunications provider, CyTA. Widely regarded as the most popular way to stay in contact, numbers have risen from last year with 2.84 million messages being sent daily, in 2011.

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More moneylaundering allegations surface

POLITICIANS across Europe are urging their governments to demand a crackdown on alleged Russian money-laundering in Cyprus as a condition of any bailout, The Telegraph said yesterday.

The paper said MPs in the UK, Finland and the Netherlands have questions for the banks before a deal is signed. The paper said German politicians were looking at making similar demands.

The moves follow allegations that the Cypriot authorities refused to investigate claims that criminals linked to a $230m alleged Russian tax fraud laundered $30m through the island’s banks, said the Telegraph.

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Noble to sell 10pct of its stake in the Leviathan

POLITICIANS here found new grounds to bicker yesterday after news that Houston-based Noble Energy agreed to sell 10 per cent of its stake in Israel’s Leviathan gas project.

Noble announced on Sunday that the partners in the Leviathan Project have agreed in principle on a proposal to sell a 30 per cent working interest in the offshore Leviathan licences to Australia’s Woodside Energy Ltd.

Under the proposal, the Delek Group will sell 15 per cent of the rights in the licences for $1.281 billion, Noble Energy 9.66 per cent of the rights for $802 million, and the remaining partner Ratio, 5 per cent of the rights for $417 million.

The Leviathan project has an estimated 17 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of discovered resources and is currently being appraised. 

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CyTA staff protest against loan to state

SEMI-STATE telecoms company CyTA yesterday put off a decision on whether to loan the government €120 million from its pension fund, as employees demonstrated against the idea. 

The CyTA board convened yesterday to discuss the potential loan, with one eye on finding ways to ensure its repayment, and another on maintaining peaceful labour relations with staff by safeguarding their pension interests. No decision was taken. 

Three of the five unions representing CyTA staff outright reject any kind of loan, which would come on the heels of an earlier loan of €100m to the government that has yet to be paid back. 

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