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Archives February 12, 2013 posted by

Cyprus aid ‘not a one-way street’

 

EUROPEAN Central Bank executive board member Joerg Asmussen has warned that Cyprus could default if there was a delay in granting financial assistance to the island, putting at risk the progress achieved in the eurozone last year.

Asmussen believed an aid package for Cyprus will be ready by the end of next month, he told the German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview published yesterday.

“I expect the aid programme for Cyprus will be in place by the end of March,” he said, adding that politicians in his native Germany should not try to delay a controversial decision on Cyprus until after a German federal election in September.

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Archives February 8, 2013 posted by

Fuel prices rise again

FUEL PRICES have gone up again this week, frustrating the head of the consumers’ union who said people had had enough with the excuses offered whenever prices are hiked.

Prices have risen by up to 3 cents a litre this week, bringing the cost of Unleaded 95 to €1.43 per litre in some cases. The vice-head of the petrol stations’ owners association Stathis Spartiatis said that as retailers they receive fuel shipment at whatever price set by the fuel companies. “We are just the recipients,” he told state broadcaster CyBC. 

Petrol station owners normally make some four or five cents per litre of fuel sold and have justified prices by citing the increase in VAT by one percentage point to 18 per cent in mid-January as well as other state taxes, and crude oil prices.

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Archives February 7, 2013 posted by

Total: looking forward to a bright future

 

CYPRUS yesterday signed a deal with French energy giant Total to search for oil and gas in two offshore blocks as part of a second licensing round initiated last year.

The deal, for blocks 10 and 11, follows agreement with a consortium of Italy’s Eni and South Korea’s KoreaGas Corp (Kogas) for blocks two, three and nine, concluded last month.

“With today’s act we conclude one of the most critical targets set by the government in its energy policy,” Commerce Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said.

Reports said Cyprus would receive €24 million in signature bonuses as part of the deal.

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Archives February 2, 2013 posted by

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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Archives January 31, 2013 posted by

Unrest grows after employers call for wages freeze

NO EMPLOYER can afford to give wage rises under the current economic situation, the head of the employers and industrialists federation said yesterday, defending a circular suggesting an across-the-board freeze on salaries, and suspending wage indexation for this year. 

The chamber of commerce and industry (KEVE) and the employers and industrialists federation (OEV) have suggested to their members they impose a moratorium in 2013 to minimise the risk to businesses. 

“It is necessary to seriously come to an adjustment based on the new state of affairs on how businesses can work,” KEVE said in an announcement. 

KEVE called on businesses to discuss and agree on any measures necessary to secure viability.

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Archives January 30, 2013 posted by

Body in suitcase man ‘killed because he wouldn’t get up’

A 29-year-old Bangladeshi man stabbed his roommate to death because he refused to get out of bed to replace him at the hotel reception where they worked, the Nicosia district court heard yesterday.

The suspect, along with a second Bangladeshi man, 33, were yesterday remanded in custody for eight days in connection with the killing of a compatriot, 25, who was found stuffed in a suitcase in the boot of a car on Monday.

The 29-year-old told the court his only mistake was that he moved the body because he was scared, but investigators said he had given a statement admitting to killing his roommate in the early morning hours of Friday.

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Archives January 29, 2013 posted by

Stabbed man’s body found stuffed in suitcase

 

POLICE have arrested two people in relation to a gruesome murder of a Bangladeshi man, 25, after his stabbed and dismembered body was found, yesterday morning, stuffed into a suitcase in the boot of a red Honda Civic. 

The car, belonging to the victim, was in a car park on Eschylou Street, near Plato’s bar, around 150 metres from the flat where he was living. It had been there since Saturday.

The victim had bled to death after being stabbed in the neck, state pathologist Sophoclis Sophocleous said. He reportedly had fingers cut off in one hand, presumably from defending himself, state broadcaster CyBC said. 

The victim’s flatmate and another person were arrested yesterday evening in relation to the death.

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Archives January 25, 2013 posted by

A €150m boost for the economy

 

THE GOVERNMENT sealed a deal yesterday granting an Italian-Korean joint venture a concession to drill for hydrocarbons in three offshore blocks.

Three separate agreements, one for each of the prospects, were signed on behalf of the government by commerce minister Neoclis Sylikiotis and finance minister Vassos Shiarly.

The three blocks (2, 3 and 9) licensed to the ENI-KOGAS consortium lie north of a gas field that holds an estimated 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

“The discovery of hydrocarbons…creates new realities and prospects for transforming Cyprus into a regional energy hub,” Sylikiotis said at the signing ceremony.

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Archives January 22, 2013 posted by

EU partners turn up heat

 

CYPRUS yesterday briefed its eurozone counterparts on the progress of an adjustment programme but no decision was expected on the financial assistance programme pending the total amount needed for bank recapitalisation.

At the same time, it was certain that Cyprus’ partners would turn up the heat concerning financial transparency matters, which they see as key before agreeing to a bailout, given their statements before the meeting. 

“We do not have all necessary data in order to make a decision,” said French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici before the Eurogroup meeting. He added that ministers will review the matter in depth at a later date.

He was echoed by his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

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Archives January 18, 2013 posted by

Deputies reject property tax bill

DEPUTIES yesterday rejected the cabinet’s new immovable property tax (IPT) rates, opting instead to postpone discussions on the grounds that more time was needed to study the provisions in depth.

The government wanted the bill approved before Monday, when eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to discuss the island’s bailout bid.

The bill, approved by the cabinet on Wednesday and submitted to parliament earlier yesterday, is in line with a preliminary bailout agreement and in theory it could fetch the government some €120 million in 2013.

The government requested the bill to be classified as urgent, meaning parliament would have to discuss and vote on it immediately.

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