Daily Archives: March 13, 2013

Archives March 13, 2013 posted by

Casinos could open within two years

 

CASINOS on the island could be up and running within two years, the commerce minister said yesterday, getting the ball rolling on an issue the previous administration flatly refused to consider on ideological grounds.

Speaking in parliament, Giorgos Lakkotrypis said he had already asked the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to update a 2007 study into the creation of casinos to help the government decide on the form they would take – whether they will be accompanied by other development.

Asked if Cyprus could expect casinos in the next two years, the minister said “yes, this is what we hope.”

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Our View: Hush hush and up in the air – only certainty is bailout deal deadline

 

IN A WAY, it is good that the government is keeping the talks with the troika out of the public domain. There is nothing worse than proposals or suggestions becoming subjects of public debate and parties making political capital out of them. President Anastasiades asked the party leaders not to divulge information after he briefed them about the talks with the troika on Saturday night and they complied. 

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Attorney-general slams judges suit against pay cuts

 

WITH THE country on the brink of collapse, this is not the time for the Supreme Court to be hearing the case of the district court judges’ appeal against pay cuts, Attorney-general Petros Clerides argued yesterday. 

The AG – representing the state – pulled no punches trying to convince the top court not to hear the case, arguing that whatever the final decision, the prestige of the judiciary has been irrevocably damaged. 

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Bailout may turn out smaller thanks to deposit tax

THE island may require a smaller bailout than previously thought because of money raised from a levy on deposits and other taxes, eurozone officials said yesterday.

Initial estimates of the amount of money needed to recapitalise banks, service debt and cover government spending were around €17 billion euros.

“The number has come down, the numbers now are between 10 and 13 billion euros rather than 15 and 17 as it was before,” one eurozone official said.

“It is thanks to a bit of a different scenario and some different assumptions on how much money can be generated in Cyprus itself through extraordinary taxes,” the official said.

A second official confirmed the option was under discussion.

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Negotiations on money laundering audit terms of reference stalled

NEGOTIATIONS between the Ministry of Finance and troika technocrats to reach an agreement on the terms of reference governing the independent audit into Cyprus’ legal framework against money laundering and its implementation faced obstacles yesterday evening. 

According to Cyprus News Agency sources, while at first the terms of reference were agreed, negotiations were subsequently blocked on the part of troika.

“The issue of the terms of reference remains open,” a source said, without excluding the possibility of an agreement last night or today to allow the procedure of a tender to choose an independent audit company to participate in the investigation for money laundering.

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ECB had urged Christofias to take measures in 2010

THE chief of the European Central Bank (ECB) had urged former president Demetris Christofias at the end of 2010 to take measures to shore up the island’s declining economy it emerged yesterday after a confidential letter was leaked to the media.

In the “strictly confidential” letter to Christofias, former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet stressed that strong fiscal consolidation should have been Cyprus’ key priority for the 2011 budget and beyond.

Dated December 15, the letter, also signed by former Central Bank governor Athanasios Orphanides, followed a surveillance exercise by the ECB.

“…Cyprus is considered as one of the countries where the need for policy actions is particularly urgent,” Trichet said.

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Suspect remanded ten years after murder

A 39-year-old Larnaca resident was yesterday remanded in custody for eight days in connection with a murder in Paphos ten years ago.

In August 2003, 48-year-old taxi-driver Charalambos Pericleous from Salamiou village had been sent to collect a customer near Tsada golf course when he was shot. His body was found around 500 metres from his car by a passerby.

He had been shot three times in the chest and point blank in the head with a revolver, which police found in some bushes nearby.

State pathologist Eleni Antoniou said at the time it was the bullet to the head that killed Pericleous. “The shot in the head was fatal,” she said. “He also had wounds in his left hand and shoulder blade.”

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Ministry of education takes moves over Harlem Shakers

THE MINISTRY of education has been forced to take action after videos of high school students doing the Harlem Shake have been uploaded onto the internet showing obscene behaviour, the ministry said yesterday.

“The videos show obscene behaviour. Some show students pulling down their trousers and pants,” sources at the ministry of education said.

“We are trying to protect these students because anything that is uploaded onto the internet can stay there forever. The students are children and are not grown-up enough to understand how this can affect their lives in the future. Some students may become doctors or lawyers and these video clips may harm their professional lives in the future,” they added.

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Former defence minister passes the Mari buck

FORMER defence minister Costas Papacostas yesterday said it was not him but colonel Georgios Georgiades who was in charge of the munitions that exploded in the summer of 2011 in Mari, killing 13 people.

Papacostas, a defendant in the trial over the deaths at Evangelos Florakis naval base, yesterday read out a written statement to Larnaca Criminal Court spanning 19 pages pointing the finger mostly at Georgiades, against whom prosecution dropped charges, adding him instead as a prosecution witness.

Papacostas, who quit on July 11, the day of the blast, said a claim by the prosecution that he was the national guard chief was a mistake because it was the national guard chief who had jurisdiction to run, manage and supervise the cargo. 

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Shipping agents seek to take control of Limassol port

SHIPPING agents are seeking to take over the operation of Limassol port, offering a reported €32 million to buy out the Licensed Porters Association (LLPA).

The Cyprus Ports Authority, which regulates matters concerning licensed porters, has given the green light for negotiations between the two sides.

A meeting took place at the Cyprus Ports Authority on Monday, where the Cyprus Shipping Agents Association presented their offer to the LLPA, and are now awaiting their response.

It’s understood the €32 million – considered quite a large sum by those in the industry – covers goodwill, buying out the licenses held by the LLPA and the annual fee paid to the Cyprus Ports Authority.

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