Nicosia, Cyprus – Banks in Cyprus are to open for the first time in more than a week today, operating for six hours from noon, but restrictions will be in place on financial transactions to prevent people from draining their accounts.
Among the capital controls, cash withdrawals will be limited to 300 euros ($383) per person each day. No checks will be cashed, although people will be able to deposit them in their accounts, according to a ministerial decree. The controls will be in place for four days.
Cyprus’s banks were closed on March 16 as politicians scrambled to come up with a plan to raise $7.5 billion so the country would qualify for $12.9 billion in much-need bailout loans for its collapsed banking sector. The deal was finally reached in Brussels early Monday and imposes severe losses on deposits of over 100,000 euros in the country’s two largest banks, Laiki and Bank of Cyprus.
Since Monday’s deal, Cypriot authorities have been rushing to introduce measures to prevent a rush of euros out of the country’s banks when they do reopen.
Greenland caps licenses for offshore exploration
Copenhagen, Denmark – Greenland’s new government said Wednesday it doesn’t plan to issue any new licenses for offshore oil exploration, an announcement that was welcomed by environmentalists who oppose drilling in Arctic waters.
Jens-Erik Kirkegaard, Greenland’s new minister for natural resources, told the Associated Press in a telephone interview that the 20 licenses issued to date were at a level that are “natural for an area like Greenland” and that the government would be “reluctant” to offer more.
Existing licenses would not be affected, he added.
Only one company, Scotland-based Cairn Energy, has drilled off Greenland in recent years. However, it found no commercial quantities of oil and gas.
Egypt: 3 divers nabbed cutting Internet cable
Cairo – Egypt’s naval forces captured three scuba divers who were trying to cut an undersea Internet cable in the Mediterranean on Wednesday, a military spokesman said. Telecommunications executives meanwhile blamed a weeklong Internet slowdown on damage caused to another cable by a ship.
Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said in a statement on his official Facebook page that divers were arrested while “cutting the undersea cable” of the country’s main communications company, Telecom Egypt. The statement said they were caught on a speeding fishing boat just off the port city of Alexandria.
It did not further have details on who they were or why they would have wanted to cut a cable.