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in Cyprus Today – 5/3/2011

Petrol stations in strike threat – in a continuing measure to link petrol pump prices with oil prices fuel prices have increased again, 40% since July 2010. Prices are now 2.59TL (95 octane) 2.63TL (97 octane & Eurodiesel)  2.44TL (diesel). Because the margin on a litre of fuel has not changed, petrol station owners are complaining that the 20 kuruş per litre they make does not reflect their increased turnover and they are going on strike for an increase in this margin. Editor: the way they see it is that when they sold 100TL of fuel in July they made more than they do now, they cannot see that they are making the same now as they were then when they sell 100 LITRES of fuel, i.e. 20TL.

Thousands take to the streets – “more than 50,000 Turkish Cypriots” took to the streets to protest against government austerity measures.

The 39 steps bid to loosen Turkey’s hold – the Cyprus EU Association has set out 39 demands they believe will allow “Turkish Cypriots to maintain their existence.” They include repatriating unregistered Turkish mainlanders, withdrawing Turkish troops, an end to its aid programme after a three-year period, re-establishment of TC rights to those of the 1960 Constitution and the removal of trade barriers with Turkey. Editor: and they also ask that the Turkish Army, which they demand be withdrawn, should pay rent. If they aren’t here what are they renting?

Women’s health under the spotlight – Christine Offord is helping arrange another Medikent Hospital campaign to bring low-cost screening to women. Prices have been maintained at last year’s levels, e.g. cervical smear 105TL, mammogram 80TL, bone density scan 80TL and a consultation 80TL. Editor: with a stronger £ this makes it cheaper for those with UK pensions, for example.

‘It’s time for leaders to confront hard choices’ – UN urges sides to conclude peace talks as soon as possible. The UN Secretary General said that he will assess progress in late March and determine whether he would convene another meeting between the two sides. A key factor in this choice is whether they can explain how they intend to resolve the remaining divergences.

Green Line trade rules ‘an obstacle’ – because Greek Cypriot goods include VAT they cannot compete with TRNC goods, plus other restrictions have reduced trade across the Green Line.

Pledge to speed up austerity measures – because Turkish Cypriots don’t like them the government has decided to introduce them earlier. Editor: probably in the belief that if you cut workers’ wages they won’t be able to afford to strike.

Erdoğan’s comments have been ‘manipulated’ – he was talking about the Turkish Cypriots with anti-Turkey banners when he said “how dare they?” and not all the “50,000/54,000/80,000” TCs who eventually demonstrated against austerity measures.

Goodwill gesture see some strikes called off – not all unions will be involved in the series of indefinite strikes against the austerity measures. Land Registry and school industrial action has been called off.

Mass turnout at protest – “54,000” people took part in the demonstrations but according to the organisers there were “80,000.”

Changes to work permit laws will ‘cause chaos” – according to the Restaurateurs’ Union 99% of those working in the industry are foreign and business owners will be forced to employ staff illegally. Editor: is that because Turkish Cypriots won’t work for such low wages?


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