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Archives March 21, 2013 posted by

Sarris: nothing concrete from Moscow visit

FINANCE Minister Michalis Sarris has vowed to stay in Moscow to reach an agreement on ways to help Cyprus out of the quagmire, after yesterday’s meetings proved inconclusive. 

Sarris went to Moscow on Tuesday evening ahead of the Cypriot parliament’s rejection of the revised draft bill regarding a one-off bank levy on deposits. 

Russian assistance had become the great eastern hope of many Cypriots following rejection of the troika’s hard-hitting measures to ‘rescue’ Cyprus, which involved an unprecedented hit to depositors, including small insured savers.

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Archives March 20, 2013 posted by

Last hope now appears to lie with Russia

AS PARLIAMENT yesterday rejected a bank levy bill, the government was working on a contingency plan, dispatching its finance minister to Russia.

Finance minister Michalis Sarris flew out to Moscow some 24 hours before initially announced.

The economy chief’s mission, informed sources said, was to sell the Russians the latest idea geared at preventing the flight of billions of euros from the island’s already hammered banks.

They said the finance minister’s trip to Moscow was moved forward to give Sarris the chance of striking a deal with the Russians as it was a foregone conclusion that the Cyprus parliament would reject the bank levy as it stood yesterday.

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Archives March 19, 2013 posted by

Parliamentary vote will be a close call


A SIMPLE majority in the 56-member House of Representatives would be required for approval of the government bill on the deposits haircut, assuming the twice-postponed vote is held today.

However the numbers simply do not add up to a majority. Three parties AKEL (19 seats), EDEK (5) and the single-seat Greens decided on Sunday that they would vote against the haircut. This leaves President Anastasiadesrelying on his party DISY (20 seats) and his government’s coalition partner DIKO (8).  

Even if he ensures that all DISY members would back the bill the support of the eight members of DIKO that would give the government a fighting chance of passing it, is far from certain. At least three DIKO deputies had indicated they would not back the bill. 

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Archives March 15, 2013 posted by

Entering the final stretch to bailout deal

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday he was committed to implementing a bailout deal “up to the last iota”, as negotiations appeared to enter the final stretch.

Anastasiades, in Brussels to attend the EU and eurozone summits, reiterated that Cyprus was not asking for preferential treatment.

“I have assumed the post of president 15 days ago and I immediately started negotiations with the troika representatives,” Anastasiades told reporters. “We look forward to finding the best and fairest agreement.”

The Cypriot president said he was committed to implementing a bailout agreement “up to the very last iota,” adding that “what we look forward to is not preferential but fair treatment.”

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Archives March 13, 2013 posted by

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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Archives March 12, 2013 posted by

Greece and Cyprus will turn crisis into opportunity

CYPRUS will rise again, President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday, stressing his determination to take all necessary measures to beat the island’s economic woes that brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.

“We have been through tougher times and we managed to rise again,” Anastasiades said following talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens. 

Referring to the Turkish invasion in 1974, Anastasiades said “the biggest catastrophe was transformed into an economic miracle because we have stubbornness and determination.”

Anastasiades said the two sides had a productive and fruitful discussion, which confirmed “our willingness for closer cooperation”, to the benefit of both countries.

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Archives March 9, 2013 posted by

Papadopoulos throws down the gauntlet


DIKO deputy Nicolas Papadopoulos yesterday announced his intention to run for the leadership of the party in a bid to take over from Marios Garoyian whose leadership he said was marred by a series of bad choices that have damaged the party’s integrity.

The son of the former president Tassos Papadopoulos stepped down as DIKO vice-chairman in January in what he said was a “political act of disagreement with the decision to back Mr Anastasiades” in the presidential elections. 

DISY’s Nicos Anastasiades went on to win the elections, thanking Garoyian and DIKO voters for their support. 

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Archives March 8, 2013 posted by

‘Cyprus has become a colony again’ [with video]

CYPRUS has become a colony once more, this time of Europe, or at least according to the lyrics of a new song by journalist and poet Leonidas Malenis says. 

The song sees Malenis re-unite with singer Stavros Hadjisavvas, who performed the song ‘Welcome Friends To Cyprus’ which was one of the many songs dedicated to Cyprus’ EU presidency.

“The song speaks for itself,” Malenis told the Cyprus Mail. “Through it I tried to describe my grief at becoming a colony once again”.

Malenis said his inspiration came from Brussels. “Our new conquerors in Brussels are the powerful nations led by Germany now, and it so sad to see our island fall victim to these nations that are taking advantage of our current economic problems,” he added.

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Archives March 7, 2013 posted by

CB chief under fire for capital gains levy

FINANCE Minister Michalis Sarris yesterday implicitly rejected a suggestion by the Central Bank chief that a levy be imposed on earnings from bank deposits, saying such a move might hurt confidence in the banking system.

“The cornerstone of confidence in the banking system is the integrity of deposits, so with that in mind, one has to look at whether it could have a negative impact,” Sarris told reporters.

Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday that Cyprus could install a special levy on capital gains from bank deposits to finance the restructuring of its banking sector. 

Sarris said he had not had the opportunity to discuss the matter with Demetriades.

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Archives February 28, 2013 posted by

New haircut rumblings dismissed

DISY said yesterday that statements made by a European Central Bank policymaker not ruling out a haircut of bigger depositors in Cypriot banks, only served to undermine the credibility of the eurozone.

Reuters yesterday reported ECB policymaker Benoit Coeure as saying that depositors in Cypriot banks should not be forced to take losses across the board as part of a eurozone rescue of Cyprus,  but he did not rule out making the biggest depositors share some of the burden.

Speaking at a Reuters Summit on the future of the eurozone, Coeure said it was essential to ensure that Cypriot debt was reduced to a manageable level and that the cost of the bailout was fairly shared and not just footed by taxpayers.

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