Daily Archives: December 20, 2012

Archives December 20, 2012 posted by

State switches bidder in Block 9 negotiations


THE GOVERNMENT yesterday announced its decision to end talks with the French-Russian energy consortium over licencing rights for the preferred Block 9 in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), choosing instead to start negotiations with the previously overlooked Italian-Korean consortium. 

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou announced the termination of negotiations with the consortium comprising French energy giant Total, Russian company Novatec and GPB Global Resources BV (a Gazprombank subsidiary) for an offshore gas exploration licence in Cyprus’ block 9, citing lack of progress in the talks. 

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Our View: AKEL sticks to safer ground during budget debate

THE CYPRUS problem always slips into the House debate for the budget. There is no reason for it, but the politicians have always been much more comfortable talking about Turkish intransigence and their support of an ideal settlement than about the economy. It is much easier to take a tough, populist line on the national problem than on the economy, which is not often offered for rhetorical flourishes, much less so when discussing an austerity budget.

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Budget approved with 27 changes

PARLIAMENT LAST night voted through the 2013 budget incorporating the terms agreed between Cyprus and its international lenders after marathon speeches made over two days by MPs criticising government policy. 

With 51 votes in favour and two against, the plenum passed the austerity-geared annual budget that will see the state spend some €9.5 billion (without factoring in loans) and earn €7.6 billion. Despite voicing their reluctance, the main parties voted in favour, with only the Greens’ Giorgos Perdikis and EVROKO’s Nicos Koutsou voting against. 

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Cabinet gives go-ahead to borrow from semi-state bodies

THE CABINET yesterday gave its approval to the state borrowing a total of €250 million from three semi-governmental organisations so it can pay wages and pensions in the public sector for the month of December. 

According to government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou, cabinet approved the three loans to be granted by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) and the Cyprus Ports Authority. 

The EAC and CyTA will loan the state €100m each from their employees’ pension funds, while the Ports Authority will lend €50m so the government can meet its financing obligations for December, after the finance ministry warned of a selective default in parliament earlier this week.

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Five BoC board members to quit


FIVE board members of the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) have expressed their intention to step down, the bank said yesterday.

The five are: Vasilis Rologis, Costas Severis, Anna Diogenous, Giorgos Georgiades and Christos Mouskis.

Mouskis submitted his resignation on Tuesday, which will be put before a board meeting next Thursday, the BoC said in an announcement.

All five intend to leave in the coming months but before the next annual general meeting, as part of “their endeavour to contribute to the renewal and restructuring of the board and in response to a recommendation from the central bank of Cyprus,” the BoC said.

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‘Huge consequences’ from Orphanides closure

ALLOWING Orphanides Supermarkets to collapse will impact the economy to the tune of €400 million and have huge consequences across the board, the head of the employers and industrialists federation OEV warned yesterday. 

“Bearing in mind that a very large number of people are employed by the supermarkets and the suppliers who will have very serious problems… indeed there will be very serious consequences on the Cyprus economy in its entirety,” OEV head Michalis Pilikos said.

He placed the loss to the economy in the area of some €400 million. 

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Teachers walk out early to protest austerity

SECONDARY school students were sent home early yesterday as their teachers walked out of classrooms for the day’s last period, protesting the austerity measures that impact their sector.

Teachers will be forced to work for an extra period (40 minutes) a week, a move that will likely see 413 contract teachers out of a job, education minister Giorgos Demosthenous said yesterday.

The measures are among those agreed with Cyprus’ international lenders, the troika, or the EU and IMF, as part of the bailout deal.

 But the secondary school teachers’ union, OELMEK, accused the government of failing to negotiate correctly the terms of the agreement. 

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CY: thanks for the cash

CYPRUS Airways (CY) yesterday thanked the parliament’s finance committee for releasing over €16 million earmarked for a share capital increase, which the ailing airline said would help them get back on their feet. 

“Cyprus Airways would like to publicly express their gratitude over the House finance committee decision…to release €16,330,000, part of the second tranche of the government’s part of the share capital increase,” CY said in an announcement. The tranche is part of some €31.3 million the airline had requested – and has now received – to help make the airline viable.

Last week the airline asked the state for an additional €73 million in order to better implement its new restructuring plan. 

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Mother of two killed in road accident

A MOTHER of two was killed in a road accident yesterday while her 14-month-old daughter who was sitting in the back seat survived the crash with minor injuries. 

Maria Michael Kostea, 34, from Liopetri, was driving on Ayia Varvara Street in Ayia Napa yesterday heading towards the town centre, when at around 11.30am, in circumstances under investigation, she lost control of the car, veered into the opposite lane and smashed into the wall of a house. 

The driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt was seriously injured in the collision while her 14-month old daughter who was sitting in a child seat in the back of the car sustained only minor injuries. 

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