Omonia to face Anorthosis in Cyprus Cup

CUP holders Omonia have been handed a tough test against league leaders Anorthosis in the standout tie of the Cyprus Coca Cola Cup quarter-finals, when the draw was made on Thursday.

“We are sure that we have two good matches ahead of us. We have faith in our team and although we trail Anorthosis in the national championship, this will have no influence on our performance in the cup,” said Omonia spokesman Andreas Demetriou immediately after the draw had been conducted.

Russia willing to aid Cyprus


RUSSIA is prepared to contribute towards Cyprus’ bailout, along with the European Union, President Demetris Christofias said yesterday, as reports also suggested that German objections had weakened.

The island’s predicament was the subject of a phone call between Christofias and Russian President Vladimir Putin who expressed his country’s readiness to chip in, along with international lenders.

“President Putin assured me that the Russian Federation is ready to contribute with the European Union in the financing of Cyprus,” Christofias was quoted as telling reporters during a visit to Belgrade yesterday. 

“The Russian finance ministry is in touch with the European Commission and I hope that this matter will soon close in a positive way.”

Our View: Central Bank Governor more punisher than protector

THE ROLE played by the Governor of the Central Bank Panicos Demetriades in the procedure for the re-capitalisation of the Cypriot banks can only be described as disastrous. We do not know what his brief from the government was when he was appointed last May, but his decisions appear to have pushed the banking sector as deeply into the mire as was possible. If the role of a Central Bank Governor is to punish banks as harshly as possible for their transgressions, then Demetriades has been successful.

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.

Reprinting of ballots begins

REPRINTING 575,000 ballot papers began yesterday after the original batch was scrapped as they depicted the alleged unauthorised use of the Guinness World Records logo by one of the candidates. 

The reprint will cost the state roughly €40,000, and the electoral services are looking into the issue of legal culpability on the part of presidential candidate Andreas Efstratiou.

Efstratiou used the Guinness World Records logo on four previous election ballot papers, and claims that as a world record holder, he has express permission to use it wherever he pleases. 

Extension for paying road tax thought unlikely

NO extensions to the deadline for paying road tax are expected, which means all drivers should pay up by February 4 or face being fined by police who will begin their checks on February 5.

“I do not envisage any extension to the deadline,” head of the Road Transport Department, Sotiris Kolletas said yesterday. “I am against any extension anyway, as the public needs to make sure they pay their road tax within the allotted period without relying on last minute extensions,” he added. 

Vehicles need to have a valid MOT certificate before a road tax disc can be renewed.

Those who do not intend to renew their road tax certificate are nonetheless legally required to let the road transport department know they will be withdrawing their car from circulation. 

Civil servants threaten strike over health care

CIVIL servants are threatening to go on strike if their access to free health care is abolished as part of the conditions of a bailout, it emerged yesterday.

PASYDY, their union, also wants a study and social dialogue on the new civil service timetables.

In an announcement, PASYDY said it would not accept abolition of the right to health care, which it considers, a vital conquest for every worker.

Unlike the rest of the population, civil servants and their families, have access to free health care, irrespective of income.

A memorandum agreed between Cyprus and international lenders calls for the abolition of the so-called right.

Dispute over cigarette price labels


CONVENIENCE stores have complained to the European Commission over a law that makes it compulsory for the maximum retail price to be displayed on cigarette packets, which they say will hold them hostage to the pricing policies of tobacco companies.

“Our fears were confirmed even before the law came into effect,” said Andreas Theodoulou, chairman of the convenience store association (SYKADE). “The rolling tobacco traders’ decision to reduce our commission to 4.0 per cent in a bid to restrain the retail price of their products makes our businesses unsustainable.”

Cyprus could face its own ‘fiscal cliff’

CYPRUS IS heading towards its own ‘fiscal cliff’, needing to find around €2.1 billion in maturing debts by July, or else face default, one economist said yesterday. 

Speaking at a seminar on the eurozone debt crisis with special reference to Cyprus, economist Fiona Mullen said Cyprus faces a “hard deadline” on June 3 when it needs to find over €1.4 billion in maturing Eurobonds and a further €714m by July 4 for maturing government-registered stocks. 

“If we can’t pay that then we go bust and then we’re not just junk status we’re basket-case status, It takes a very, very long time to get back from default status,” said Mullen at the event organised by the European University Cyprus.