Daily Archives: April 4, 2013

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NEW: Leaked reports on why Cypriot banks sought state help

Following are leaked reports on the findings of a probe into what led Cypriot banks to seek state help carried out by Alvarez and Marsal.

One report concerns the acquisition of Greek government bonds by the Bank of Cyprus. The other one is about Laiki Bank absorbing Marfin Egnatia Bank in Greece.

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IMF boss lauds ‘fair’ Cyprus deal

 

THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund (IMF) will contribute €1 billion over three years to the €10 billion bailout for Cyprus, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said yesterday.

Lagarde said she expected the IMF board to approve the funds in early May.

“A staff team of the International Monetary Fund has reached staff level agreement with the Cypriot authorities on an economic programme that will be supported by the IMF jointly with the European Union and the European Central Bank,” Lagarde said.

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Our View: Protecting public sector jobs could never kick-start the economy.

THE GOVERNMENT really overplayed the improvements it made to the memorandum of understanding, which was finalised on Tuesday. Putting such a positive spin on minor improvements primarily benefiting the pampered public sector workers is a sure-fire way of the government further undermining its shattered credibility. Was the fact that the reduction in the number of public servants, by 2016, would be 4,500 instead of 5,000, something worth mentioning, let alone presenting as an achievement?

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Blame game in full swing

 

THE CLINCHING of a final deal with the troika of international lenders on Tuesday sparked a fully-fledged blame game between ruling DISY, and opposition AKEL yesterday, even prompting President Nicos Anastasiades to join in.

Each side blamed the other for the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and each said the other had brought the country to ruin. AKEL, when it was in government had agreed an initial MoU with the troika last November. The deal reached on Tuesday was with the new government led by Anastasiades. Each said the other’s deal was worse.

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Central Bank could face slew of lawsuits from depositors

 

LARGE depositors in Laiki Bank who face losing most if not all their money have warned they will take the Central Bank’s top brass to court if even one cent is taken out of their accounts. 

The threat of legal action raises the spectre of the bailout programme unravelling in the courts, and slapping the state with massive sums in penalties.  

A lawyer representing a number of large depositors sent a letter to Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades last Thursday warning that if a haircut of any size was imposed on their deposits held at Laiki Bank, depositors will file a private criminal case against the governor, board members, and certain CB officials for allegedly committing “a number of criminal acts and omissions”. 

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Bank workers union calls two-hour strike

BANK workers union ETYK yesterday urged its members to participate in a two-hour warning strike at 12.30 today to demand protection of provident funds and their jobs.

The banks will open their doors to the public at 8.30am and close at 11.45am.

In a written statement, the union said it was concerned because despite the government’s promises “issues that regard our future and the future of our children are still pending.”

The risk to the provident funds belonging to the workers of Laiki and Bank of Cyprus and other people was still present, despite their efforts, ETYK said.

“We also see that no agreement has been made nor any actions are underway, like a decision on voluntary exit, which would prevent the need for personnel dismissals,” ETYK said.

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New ministers sworn in

PRESIDENT NICOS Anastasiades yesterday completed his first cabinet reshuffle in record time since he took office last month, introducing the first woman in a previously all-male cabinet. 

Outgoing Finance Minister Michalis Sarris was replaced by Labour Minister Haris Georgiades who in turn was replaced by former permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry Zeta Emilianidou. 

“Finally, I can greet a lady in the cabinet – you see it’s not only the memorandum we have improved significantly but also the composition of the cabinet,” said Anastasiades, adding that the government would respond to constructive criticism. “We listen and we adapt,” he said.  

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Banks are open but consumers only spending on basics

CONSUMERS have started using baskets in place of trolleys when they shop, and putting the minimum amount of fuel in their vehicles, businesses said yesterday.

Bakeries, supermarkets and petrol stations said they had all been feeling the effects of the current economic meltdown while the public attempts to adapt to the stranglehold banks have placed on their accounts.

Some companies have tried to attract customers by offering special deals on products in an attempt to revive the market but suppliers’ insistence on cash payments has meant some gaps have begun to appear on store shelves.

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Electricity demand falls by almost a quarter

THERE has been a large reduction in the demand for electricity due to the economic crisis and the closure of businesses according to the head of the energy regulator CERA, George Shammas. 

He also added that CERA would look into possibly further decreasing the cost of electricity. “There has been a huge drop in demand for electricity and it is 20 to 25 per cent below what it was two years ago,” he said. 

Shammas presented CERA’s findings to the House Finance Committee along with the Electricity Authority’s (EAC) proposed budget. 

CERA’s budget of €1.91 million for 2013 foresees a surplus and is €690,000 higher than 2012. The EAC’s income for 2013 is estimated to be €2.15 million, €700,000 more than in 2012.

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‘Women will suffer twice as much’

 

THE WORSENING economic crisis will set women’s rights issues back years as unemployment and poverty grow, women’s groups said yesterday.

At a seminar in Nicosia yesterday on the impact of the crisis on womenthe speaker stressed how funding cuts would also place women’s issues on the back burner after years of struggling to get where they are today.

Antigoni Papadopoulou, a member of the European Parliament,  who spoke at the seminar said women were the victims of a silent crisis and would suffer twice as much because their struggle for equality would be compromised.

“All those years of fighting for women’s rights in Cyprus will come to no avail now as we will have to start from the beginning,” she said.

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