Daily Archives: December 11, 2012

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Drugs, fuel prices concern Auditor-general

 

WASTEFUL public sector spending, crooked lawyers, along with high medicine and fuel prices were the main concerns of Auditor-general Chrystalla Yiorkadji as she handed over her 2011 report to President Demetris Christofias yesterday.

With the standard of living set to worsen in times of austerity, households’ expenses on medicines becomes all that more important. The Auditor-general said what stood out for her this year were the high prices of drugs and fuel.

A retail price analysis of some750 drugs available both here and in Greece demonstrated that prices in Cyprus were on the whole much higher, she said.

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Our View: If politicians didn’t encourage nepotism, people would stop asking for favours

THERE is nothing more amusing than hearing our politicians taking a principled public stand against nepotism or cronyism – traditionally known as rusfeti – especially after one of them has been caught at it. As soon as the revelation is made, instead of showing their solidarity for their colleague, they take the moral high ground spouting platitudes about their commitment to meritocracy and fair play.

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WASTE AND MORE WASTE

In 2011, overtime and allowances in the police force amounted to €33 million, almost 17 per cent of the annual payroll which was €198 million. Most importantly, around €14.7 million was paid on the Sunday and public holidays allowance (during regular shifts),€11 million on the “shift allowance,” and €3.3 million on “overtime remuneration.” Around half of overtime pay (€1.59 million) related to policing sports events.

 

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WHOSE EMPLOYEES COST THE MOST?

Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC)

Net surplus before taxes: €75.48 million (2011); €101.85 million (2010)

Cost overruns:

Purchase of electricity from third parties: €24,508,998

Rental of temporary power units (generators): €16,411,247

Repair work on Vassilikos power station: €8,579,269 

Upgrade works on Moni power station: €429,945 

Average cost per employee (including social security contributions): €57,975

 

Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA)

Net surplus before taxes: €81.72 million (2011); €79.44 million (2010)

Number of employees: 2266 (2011); 2289 (2010)

Expenditures on wages, allowances and employer’s contributions: €152.24 million (2011); €148.02 million (2010)

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MPs want property tax provisions amended

LAWMAKERS yesterday asked the government to amend a bill that increases annual immovable property tax (IPT) as part of the island’s bailout, as various interest groups suggest it is unfair and would only lead to bigger problems.

Landowners, property developers and hoteliers warn that the changes, which hike up the taxes currently based on 1980 values, will drive the economy deeper into recession.

Hoteliers yesterday suggested that the bill was unconstitutional and warned that they would file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Haris Loizides, Chairman of the hotels association PASYXE, said the bill increased the tax a hotel had to pay nine-fold.

Loizides said a hotel that paid €27,600 in IPT last year would have to pay €253,380 in 2013.

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Clarifications sought from Pimco

A STEERING committee studying a preliminary report on the recapitalisation needs of Cypriot banks has asked the company undertaking the due diligence for clarifications, the Central Bank said yesterday, as reports said Cyprus and international lenders disagreed on the amount.

The report outlines how much money would be necessary to recapitalise the island’s banks but an official overall figure has not been made public.

State broadcaster CyBC reported last night that international lenders insisted on €13 billion, while Cyprus puts the figure to under €10 billion.

The amount needed to recapitalise the banks is key to concluding a comprehensive bailout deal with international lenders.

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Flooded for the second time in three days

RESIDENTS of a Limassol neighbourhood were up in arms yesterday after seeing their properties flooded for the second time in three days following heavy rain.

People living on Vasileos Constantinou Street said they were up all night on Sunday trying to keep the rain out of their homes as the fire service scrambled to pump water from properties and rescue trapped drivers.

“This is like biblical destruction to us. We are retired. Who’s going to help us?” one distressed resident told state radio.

A second resident said they hardly got any sleep in the past few days, trying to protect their belongings and worrying about their safety.

The storm flooded several underground areas while many vehicles got stuck in flooded roads.

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Quantum Marathon…good for some

THE NICOSIA Quantum Marathon may have gone without a hitch for participants on Sunday but for motorists and shopkeepers it was an nightmare.

Huge swathes of roads and streets were blocked to traffic and anyone who did venture towards the city centre faced hours of sitting in their cars with no idea when or where they would be able to park, or when they might be able to escape the chaos.

Shop-keepers hoping for some much-needed custom on the first Sunday opening of the Christmas period were also inconvenienced as many did not manage to get through the road-blocks in time to open their premises early. Those who had shops on streets blocked from traffic had no hope of seeing any custom that day.

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Woman killed husband in self defence, AG rules

A LIMASSOL woman, 34, who was remanded in connection with the stabbing of her 39-year-old husband will not be prosecuted, Attorney-general Petros Clerides has said.

The woman was arrested over a week ago in a state of shock after her husband was found dead at their home following a domestic dispute.  

“I have suspended prosecution on the grounds of self-defence,” Clerides said.

The Greek-Cypriot woman was arrested on November 30 after police found her Romanian husband dead in their kitchen in Limassol’s Kapsalos area.

When police got to the scene, the woman was in a state of shock a few metres way from the house.

She was suspected of stabbing her husband after an argument when she had pleaded with him to stop drinking.

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Court shown Mari victims’ last moments

LARNACA Assizes yesterday watched several videos taken on mobile phones owned by two of the victims of last year’s blast at Mari who unintentionally filmed the last moments of several of their co-victims as they were called in to respond to what they thought was just a fire.

Twenty minutes before the blast that killed him, chief fireman Yiorgos Yiakoumi who died at the age of 30 was heard saying the footage could be used for training purposes.

The footage was instead used by the court that witnessed the events prior to the explosion, and the prosecution that argued that the danger to their lives had not been clear to the victims.

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