Daily Archives: February 2, 2013

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Our View: Better checks and balances needed for office of president

A FEW weeks before we elect a new president, perhaps it would be worthwhile to consider the staggering powers enjoyed by the President of the Republic constitutionally. In effect the president could be likened to an elected dictator, because once installed in office he or she cannot be touched. The legislature could block the state budget, reject the laws that are submitted to it and make it difficult for the government to rule but that is as far as it could go, because in a presidential system there is no such thing as a vote of confidence.

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Greeks have most resistance to antibiotics in the EU…

 

AT the pharmacy in Athens airport there are no questions asked when I request a packet of the antibiotic Amoxil. They dispense them to me a few seconds for just over €5. I like to keep an emergency pack when I am working away in remote places, just in case. So it is no surprise that the Greeks have developed the highest levels of resistance to antibacterial infections such as e coli and klebsiella pneumonia: they are closely followed by the Cypriots. It means that Greek hospital doctors face a new threat, apart from staff shortages and lack of resources, a pneumonia causing superbug that most antibiotics can’t kill and a population that has become immune.

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Comment: Annan plan had no place in election debate

 

THE DISAPPOINTMENTS in last Monday’s televised election debate were not the presidential candidates, but the four journalists who stayed glued to the Annan plan.

Until 2003, the 1974 coup featured prominently in the election agenda. From 2004 onwards, after the rapprochement of the hard core Makarios and Grivas supporters, the main agenda of elections has become the Annan plan. 

In reality, this agenda has no takers outside the political and journalistic communities. It is out of place and time and those who invest politically in the ‘no-vote’ of nine years ago have no contact with current reality.

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Unions threaten all-out strike

UNIONS warned yesterday that the ongoing builders strike, which is entering its ninth day, could escalate into an all-out general strike if employers did not show signs they was ready to deal.

While they voiced their readiness to talk, unions also warned that things could get worse if the matter was not resolved soon.

“We are warning of the danger of labour peace exploding because of the builders’ strike,” said right-wing union SEK’s boss Nicos Moiseos. 

Moiseos said yesterday his union had decided how to react but it would not announce anything, in order to give the labour minister time to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.

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German official acknowledges Cyprus risk

A GERMAN government official acknowledged yesterday that a collapse of Cyprus’ banking sector would pose a threat to the eurozone’s stability, suggesting that the country would not block a bailout package.

“From everything that I know, I would expect that one will come to the conclusion that it’s relevant,” Norbert Barthle, a lawmaker and budget spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union-led bloc, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “One has to take a very close look at the issue of contagion, especially since the Cypriot banks are very closely tied to the Greek banks.” 

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December jobless rate 14.7 per cent

THE JOBLESS rate in Cyprus jumped to 14.7 per cent in December, one of the highest increases in the European Union.

Highlighting the human cost of a debt crisis that began in 2009 in Greece and spread to the eurozone’s biggest economies, some 18.7 million people were out of work in December, an unemployment rate of 11.7 percent. That figure has risen from below 8.0 per cent in early 2008, just before the full effects of the global financial crisis were fully felt, and is well above 11.3 per cent forecast by the European Commission for end-2012.

Unemployment held steady at just 5.3 per cent in Germany, the eurozone’s biggest economy, but rose again in Portugal and Cyprus, to 16.5 per cent and 14.7 per cent respectively.

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Banks follow Fitch sovereign downgrade

FOLLOWING the downgrade of Cyprus’ sovereign rating on January 25, Fitch Ratings late on Thursday downgraded Bank of Cyprus’ (BOC), Cyprus

Popular Bank’s (CPB) and Hellenic Bank’s (HB) Long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRS) and Support Rating Floors (SRFS) to ‘B’ from ‘BB-.

The Outlooks on the banks’ Long-term IDRs were negative in line with that of the sovereign, Fitch said. 

The agency Fitch affirmed all three banks’ Short-term IDRs at ‘B’.

Fitch said the sovereign downgrade indicated a weakening of its ability to provide extraordinary support to its banks.

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What’s that in your backyard? Is it a fighter plane?

SATELLITE views of the earth used to be reserved for high ranked military and political personnel but now with the help of Google the average citizen can pinpoint where he lives and works or can help him look into his neighbour’s premises.

If you live in the area of Strakka between Lakatamia and Kato Deftera you might be forgiven for thinking that someone at Google was playing a practical joke, as one residence clearly has a Harrier Jet parked in the backyard. 

The decommissioned plane is the property of pilot Yiotis Ioannides, husband of Maria Yiorkadji, sister of Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis. 

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‘Biggest investment in the history of the Republic’

CYPRUS could have one of the major natural gas liquefaction terminals in the world, the biggest investment in the history of the Republic, Commerce Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said yesterday.

“Our decision to carry out this project is irreversible because the political and economic benefits would be unmatched,” the minister said.

Construction of the plant at Vassilikos is expected to begin late in 2014 or early 2015, the minister said. The aim is to have it ready by 2019.

“Our objective is for the gas liquefaction terminal to process our own gas, which we will transfer to international markets, as well as the natural gas of Israel, Lebanon, and other countries in the region”.

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Sweeping checks on all buses

ISLANDWIDE checks will be carried out on all buses that should have been replaced at the turn of the year after 30 of 31 buses used to transport school children in Nicosia failed their MOT, according to Communications and Works Minister Efthymios Flourentzos. 

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