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Banks in Cyrpus close, gov’t near default

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Parliament will soon vote on whether to seize money from banks deposits

Banks in Cyrpus were closed today, and will remain so until at least Thursday. The parliament will vote soon on whether the government should seize money from bank deposits to avoid default on the government’s debt. Reuters reports:

Cypriot ministers scrambled to revise a plan to seize money from bank deposits before a parliamentary vote on Tuesday that will either secure the island’s financial rescue or threaten its default.
The weekend announcement that Cyprus would impose a tax on bank accounts as part of a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout by the European Union broke with previous practice that depositors’ savings were sacrosanct. The euro and stock markets fell on concern the euro zone crisis was reigniting.
Before Tuesday’s vote, which is too close to call and would send reverberations across the currency zone if lost, the government was working to soften the blow to smaller savers by tilting more of the tax towards those with deposits greater than 100,000 euros ($130,000).
The decision to target bank accounts stunned Cypriots, and police sealed off parliament in Nicosia as about 400 people staged a noisy protest outside, aggrieved that their small island of one million people should be singled out for such treatment.Read more

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