World Bulletin/News Desk
Cyprus said on Friday it would continue discussions with international lenders in an attempt to reach an agreement on its bailout request, but could not specify when a deal might be concluded.
"We are working with the troika to be able to conclude a memorandum the soonest possible," government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said after government ministers met representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on a visit to the island.
Cyprus sought emergency financial aid from its EU partners on June 25 to buffer a banking sector hammered by exposure to Greece, becoming the fifth euro zone country to need a bailout.
The island's two largest banks booked significant losses on the restructuring of Greek debt earlier this year, impairing regulatory capital and forcing them to seek government aid to recapitalise.
It is unclear how much Cyprus, the euro zone's third smallest economy, will require. The bailout will be comprehensive, and not limited just to the banking sector.
With a GDP of just 17 billion euros, some assessments have placed the bailout amount as high as 10 billion because of the further fallout potential from Greece.
Sources close to the consultations have said there is a divergence on how much Cyprus may need, with the government's assessment being lower than that of the Troika, but without providing any figures.
Cyprus is also discussing a 5 billion euro loan request with Russia, a close political and business ally.
Run by a leftist government which only reluctantly submitted a bailout request after the world's third ratings agency downgraded the island's debt to junk, Cyprus has been at pains to stress to lenders it will not take harsh austerity measures, spooked by the experience of Greece.
"Austerity won't provide the exit from the crisis, there needs to be support for growth and social cohesion," Stefanou said.
"We have underlined the need for balanced and mild measures which will not trigger social upheaval, and will preserve industrial peace," he said.
Authorities have refused to comment on widespread reports that the Troika has suggested salary cuts in an inflated, and highly unionised, public sector workforce and the withholding of Christmas bonuses.
There have also been reports of privatising semi-government corporations like Cyprus telecoms agency Cyta and the electricity authority.
Asked whether there were disagreements, Stefanou said: "When there is a need to continue, it means that there are different approaches on various issues, but on the other, it means there is prospect for convergences on various issues. We will exhaust all effort to reach convergence."
The raise is expected to bring Israel's civil servants' salaries up to 5,000 shekels (around $1,282) from 4,200 shekels (roughly $1,076)
Russian sanctions have hit Lithuania's transport sector, which employs around 100,000, as well as its dairy industry.
The suspension comes as South Korea is struggling to contain its own outbreak of bird flu in birds.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann justified the original sanctions as "a self-defence step", but added: "Our goal cannot be tightening the sanctions."
Both the European Union and United States adopted tighter restrictions on investments in Crimea this week, targeting individuals, Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration and tourism.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the offer included $1 billion for infrastructure, $490 million for poverty alleviation and $1.6 billion in special loans for China's production capacity export
Ukraine could default on its debt obligations if the situation does not change in the next few months, S&P said on Friday.
Damascus has relied on Tehran to fight its war with drop in oil price affects oil-producing Iran. Syrian traders say Damascus worried about future support
The ruble makes small gain Friday morning, but RTS index continues to contract
Norwegian energy company Statoil, which suspended 5 rigs in the last 2 months, granted $610 million for development of its gas fields
Putin earlier announced pipeline project via Bulgaria would be cancelled.
President Vladimir Putin said that Russia needed to take the opportunity to diversify its economy to protect it from external shocks.
Verdi said in a statement that workers at four of those centres had decided to continue their strike until Saturday and employees at the Graben warehouse would strike until Dec. 24.
Russia suffers as sanctions bite economy; will crisis make Ukraine conflict too costly?
EU to tighten sanctions on Crimea in time for leaders summit to send message to Russia
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to cut production at a Nov. 27 meeting and, despite slumping prices, major Gulf OPEC members have since shown no sign of reversing course