Daily Archives: December 12, 2012

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Security to be stepped up over growing protests


SECURITY is to be stepped up at all government buildings in anticipation of more angry outbursts against coming austerity measures in the days and weeks to come, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said yesterday.

Angelides was speaking only hours after angry investors, who claim they were duped into buying high-yield bank bonds, stormed parliament and disrupted a committee meeting discussion on the issue,  while another arm of the police themselves demonstrated outside the finance ministry and later parliament.

Angelides yesterday told online news portal Stockwatch that the force was “reviewing its policy for law enforcement and maintaining order and security.”

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Our View: Is this how the government wants to stimulate growth and create jobs

VERY STRONG opposition has built up against the government’s bill drastically increasing the immovable property tax (IPT) that is expected to be approved today. 

It would appear all the political parties, including AKEL, are against it despite the assurances by the head of the Inland Revenue Department, who told the House finance committee on Monday that only 44,000 individuals would have to pay IPT and some 293,000 would be exempted; with regard to companies, only 7,100 of the 16,000 would have to pay. His aim was to show that the majority of people, those with lower incomes, would not be affected.

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Supreme Court orders retrial in Helios case

BY A majority decision the Supreme Court has upheld an appeal lodged by the Attorney-general and has ordered a retrial of the Helios air crash case.

In the ruling, six of the nine judges said they had found fault with the Nicosia criminal court’s prior decision to acquit the defendants and as such a retrial was warranted.

“It is understood that the complexity and scope of the case will entail additional time and cost, however the public interest is such that it must prevail, in order that proper and effective justice be served,” the decision by the majority of the panel read.

The case will now be tried from scratch by a different criminal court, at a date to be determined.

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‘The Church will not let anyone starve’

THE Archbishopric in Nicosia was briefly evacuated yesterday as three fire engines were used to put out a fire in the historic building’s basement. 

Fire Service spokeswoman Liza Kemidji said yesterday that the fire broke out at 9.55am in the basement where the Church keeps its archives and old computers, leading to the evacuation of the entire building. The fire was brought under control by 10.15am after three fire engine units were dispatched to the scene.  

The Fire Service and Department of Electrical and Mechanical Services of the Communications Ministry are examining the cause of the fire, though Kemidji ruled out foul play.  

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Pimco report in January

THE recapitalisation needs of Cyprus’s banks are broadly in line with expectations, according to an interim independent report, the finance ministry said yesterday.

A preliminary agreement between Cyprus and international lenders has already earmarked up to €10 billion as aid for the island’s banks, but this was subject to outside verification.

While mentioning no amount, the finance ministry said an asset quality review of banks submitted by Pimco, pending a final report from the consultancy in January, was being assessed.

“In broad outline, the results are within the expectations of discussions on the (aid) programme,” the ministry said in a statement.

Reports on Monday night suggested the amount would be in excess of €10 billion.

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CyTA will give state a €100m in short-term

THE BOARD of telecommunications company CyTA last night agreed to provide the cash-strapped state with a €100m short-term loan from its pension fund, providing some breathing space until the state can secure an international bailout. 

According to state broadcaster CyBC, board chairman Stathis Kittis said the loan would be given under strict terms and conditions, including the return of the money within three months. 

The semi-state organisation had been pondering the government’s request for days, fully aware that three of five CyTA employee unions were against the move and even threatened legal action should the board take money from the workers’ pension fund. 

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No way to tell how much stashed in Swiss banks

OUT of an estimated €100million to €300m deposits in banks in Switzerland, authorities here collected around €4.5 million in taxes on interest during the period 2005-2010, lawmakers heard yesterday.

The House Watchdog Committee was discussing tax evasion issues, advised by officials from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), the treasury, the Central Bank and the Auditor-general’s office.

The €100m to €300m estimate concerned deposits that are above board, MPs clarified. During the session it transpired that there is no way currently to work out how much cash from ‘Cypriots’ (depositors with a tax residency in Cyprus) is deposited in banks abroad, because millions more were probably undeclared.

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Man dies after water tanker hits private jet

A 63-YEAR-OLD man from Larnaca died during the early hours yesterday after the water tanker he was driving collided with a parked private jet at the old Larnaca airport amid confusion between Hermes Airport and the police. 

Giorgos Nicolaou was trapped inside the tanker’s cabin before being freed by members of the Fire Service and taken to Larnaca General Hospital. According to a nurse at the hospital, Nicolaou had suffered severe damage to his neck but was in a lucid state when he arrived at the hospital. Doctors made the decision to operate, but he succumbed to his injuries. A post mortem will be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.

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‘Financial services can create thousands of jobs’

A REPORT on Cyprus’ financial and business services lists recommendations that can be implemented on tight budgets but could add 9,700 new jobs in five years and bring in additional state revenues of €13 million, its authors yesterday said.

A report commissioned by financial services providers PwC Cyprus and presented yesterday in Nicosia looks at professional and business services as they have become the drivers of job creation and growth in Cyprus, growing 40 times faster than tourism and generating more jobs.

 “Our research shows that the newer sectors of professional business services and international financial services have been the most resilient sectors in the recent downturn,” the report’s authors said. 

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