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fall in the tax burden over the medium term, having risen in the short term. Some of the measures include not cancelling the 6-month unemployment bonus that civil servants receive when claiming retirement benefits, while raising the retirement age to 65 is deemed as unrealistic.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw could pull out of his planned visit to Cyprus over a row with the government about where he plans to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali
Talat. However, he may be prepared to insist that flags and emblems be removed during any visit.
The five supervisory bodies overlooking the financial services sector could be merged into just one or two authorities over the next few years, according to IMF Executive Director Joroen Kremers. The five supervisory bodies cover the commercial banks, the Co-operatives, insurance companies, the stock exchange and financial services.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% of the labour force in December, mainly because of layoffs in the hotels and restaurants sector, as well as public administration, while the average for the year was 3.7%, up from 3.6% in 2004.
Agriculture Minister Efthymios Efthymiou said that the case of bird flu in Turkey are no cause for concern in Cyprus, as all precautionary measures have been taken.