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Cyprus Mail Tuesday, November 6, 2012 €1 CYPRUS WORLD SPORT UN dismay over plans for renovated ‘peace’ church Last push in US White House race 7 Only a win can keep ep Man City’s Euro dream alive back 4 Russian billions under spotlight Money-laundering claims another blow as hopes of Nov. 12 bailout date fade By Elias Hazou T HE government came under more pressure yesterday following a report in the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel which described Cyprus as a money-laundering haven. Citing a confidential report by Germany’s intelligence agency BND, the magazine said Russian oligarchs who have “parked” their illegal earnings inside the country stand to benefit most from an EU bailout of Cyprus. The article, which the government swiftly dismissed as slander, came just as it looked increasingly clear yesterday that Cyprus is likely to miss a November 12 deadline for having its bailout request approved. In its report, the BND said Russians have deposited some €20 billion in Cyprus banks, an amount greater than the island’s annual gross domestic product. It said these deposits will be guaranteed if European bailout money is paid to shore up the island’s banks. The BND also accused Cyprus of still providing opportunities for money laundering. “The report of the BND shows who will profit most of all from the billions in European taxpayer funds Russian oligarchs, businesspeople and mafiosi who have parked their illegal earnings in Cyprus,” the magazine said. The report was an added embarrassment for the government after the European Commission reiterated yesterday that no date has yet been set for the troika’s return to the island to finalise talks on a rescue package. A spokesman for the EU’s euro commissioner Olli Rehn told the Cyprus News Agency: “Talks between the troika and Cyprus authorities are ongoing, but we are not in a position yet to announce the date of the next [troika] mission to Cyprus.” German officials seemed to second that view. “A deal before 2013 will likely be difficult,” German finance ministry spokesman Martin Kotthaus said at a press conference yesterday. The government here may have difficulty paying public sector salaries in December unless a bailout deal is clinched and cleared by mid-November. And even if that cut-off date is met, it would then take the parliaments of individual euro-area countries about six weeks to sanction an EU/IMF bailout. The Eurogroup’s November 12 meeting is set to discuss adjustment programmes for Spain, Cyprus and probably Slovenia. Missing that deadline could mean that Cyprus may be “butchered” if international lenders subsequently deal with the country in isolation. Asked by reporters, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou was unable to shed light on when the troika could be expected back on the island. “We are awaiting the date for the advent of the troika so that direct negotiations [on a bailout deal] can commence. Our contact [with the troika] is on a daily basis,” he said. TURN TO PAGE 5 TEENS IN COURT AFTER FATAL STABBING OF BRITISH SOLDIER British tourist Mohamed Abdulkadir Osman, 19, entering Famagusta district court yesterday after the fatal stabbing of a British soldier in an Ayia Napa nightclub early Sunday morning FULL STORY PAGE 3 (CNA) American amputee climbs 103-storey skyscraper AN American amputee has climbed 103 storeys of a skyscraper using a “bionic” mind-controlled false leg. Zac Vawter, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident, scaled around 2,100 steps to the top of Chicago’s Willis Tower. Vawter took part in an annual charity event held by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is receiving treatment. “Everything went great,” he said. “The prosthetic leg did its part, and I did my part.” The leg is designed to respond to electrical impulses from muscles in his hamstring. When Vawter thought about climbing, the motors, belts and chains in his leg synchronised the movements of its ankle and knee. The computerised prosthetic limb weighs about 10 lbs (4.5 kg) and holds two motors. Thought-controlled prosthetic arms have been available for a few years. Knowing leg amputees outnumber people who have lost arms and hands, the Chicago researchers are focusing more on lower limbs. If a bionic hand fails, a person drops a glass of water. If a bionic leg fails, a person falls downstairs. The stair-climbing event was a research project, said Joanne Smith, the Rehabilitation Institute’s chief executive. “We were testing the leg under extreme conditions. Very few patients who will use the leg in the future will be using it for this purpose. From that perspective, its performance was beyond measure.” Vawter practised on a small escalator at a gym, while researchers spent months adjusting the technical aspects of the leg to ensure that it would respond to his thoughts. “A lot of people say that losing a leg is like losing a loved one,” he said. “You go through a grieving process. You establish a new normal in your life and move on. Today was a big event. It’s just neat to be a part of the research.”


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