Daily Archives: December 19, 2012

Archives December 19, 2012 posted by

Flooding cause anger and grief

 

AFTER a night of rain almost islandwide, which continued into much of yesterday causing countless problems to homes, shops and drivers, the met office says there will be little let up until Friday, and that will be brief.

Shopkeepers, already hit by recession, are angry at being fed the same old lines year after year when it rains, as they spent another morning yesterday clearing mud from their damaged premises.

Fire services received 16 distress calls yesterday morning, six in  Limassol, five in Larnaca, three in Nicosia and two in Paphos involving flooded basements, and drivers stuck in their cars in flooded streets.

And there’s more to come in next few days.

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Defaulting on public-sector wages could have triggered a ‘run on the government’

THE QUESTION ‘what would happen had the state defaulted on civil servants’ 12th and 13th salaries’ has elicited mixed reactions, reminiscent of the speculation on the (supposed) Mayan prediction for December 21, 2012: some declare it would have brought about the apocalypse, others say “bah, humbug!”

“The consequences would be quite severe,” offers Theodore Panayotou, director of the Cyprus International Institute of Management.

“For one thing, civil servants would have lowered their productivity – there’s no doubt in my mind about that. Also, Cyprus would risk losing any credibility it has abroad: if the state is unable to pay its own employees, then what sort of message does that send?”

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‘There will be no default’

THE FINANCE ministry said yesterday it has secured the necessary cash to cover its current financing needs and there was no possibility of a default, a day after a high-ranking official warned that without loans from semi-government companies (SGOs), the state would run out of money in a matter of days.

Speaking before the House Finance Committee on Monday, finance ministry permanent secretary Christos Patsalides warned that Cyprus could be considered as being in selective default if SGOs refused to provide the necessary cash to cover its immediate needs.

The cash would come from pension funds and workers had expressed concerns it would be lost.

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‘Bitter budget’ likely to pass

 

LAWMAKERS yesterday discussed the 2013 budget incorporating the terms agreed between Cyprus and its international lenders, which most deputies said they will vote for despite their reluctance. 

The state’s debt in 2013 is expected to come to 92 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) or about €16 billion, the head of parliament’s finance committee Nicolas Papadopoulos said yesterday.

GDP is expected to be reduced from €17.9 billion in 2012 to €17.5 billion in 2013, he added.

“In real numbers, the public debt for 2013 is expected to be increased by €770 million reaching €16 billion compared to the €15.3 billion estimated for 2012,” Papadopoulos said. 

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‘Save our jobs’ hundreds of Orphanides workers plead

HUNDREDS of workers at Orphanides Supermarkets took to the streets yesterday asking for their jobs to be saved as a cloud of uncertainty hung over the future of the debt-ridden company.

The employees came out shortly after news that the company’s two main creditors – Popular and Bank of Cyprus – had rejected the appointment of Andreas Andronikou as administrator. Fears were compounded when on Monday the chain shut down 11 stores and sent home on unpaid leave 200 employees.

Last week the chain announced it was going into administration. The company owes banks some €140m or €150m, €85m to suppliers and €10m to other creditors.

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Cyprus at high risk of fiscal stress in the short-term, report says

CYPRUS appears to be at high risk of fiscal stress in the short-term and also faces high sustainability risks in the medium and long run, according to a European Commission report released yesterday.

The Fiscal Sustainability Report 2012 report said Cyprus should focus on “resolutely continuing to implement sustainability-enhancing measures that avert potential risks to fiscal sustainability from materialising or intensifying in the short-term.”

According to the report, which covers the 24 EU nations not in full bailout programmes, short-term “risks for fiscal stress have abated in nearly all countries” since a previous sustainability report in 2009. 

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AG about-turn on pensions provision

ATTORNEY-general Petros Clerides yesterday did an about-turn over a disagreement with international lenders in interpreting a provision that changes the way civil service pensions are calculated as part of the island’s bailout. 

The difference was whether the new system would be retroactive or if it would only affect earnings after January 1, 2013 when it comes into force.

During a discussion at the House Finance Committee on Monday, Clerides appeared certain that it was the latter that had been agreed.

The committee asked the government to clarify the matter before tomorrow when the draft legislation will be put to the vote.

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Homophobia in schools ‘a real problem’

HOMOPHOBIC BULLYING is a “real problem” in schools which needs to be tackled through a series of measures taken by the Education Ministry, said Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou in a recent report.  

According to the report on homophobia in education and the handling of homophobic incidents compiled by the anti-discrimination authority working under the Ombudswoman, the ministry must take measures to tackle problems faced by both educators and pupils who face discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

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‘Not enough support for children with problems’

 

WELFARE is still failing to work alongside other state services to ensure that children’s rights are secured, Commissioner for Children’s Rights Leda Koursoumba said yesterday.

Koursoumba was handing over her 2011 annual report to President Demetris Christofias at the presidential palace. 

“There are gaps in the potential for collaboration among state services to support families,” Koursoumba told journalists afterwards. 

There are “enduring problems” in the sectors of education, health and social welfare where “there has been no improvement despite efforts,” Koursoumba added.

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