World News

    Cypriot Leader Says Bailout Terms 'Painful' but Necessary

    Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades says the terms of his country's new $13 billion bailout are "painful," but that he had to agree to the deal with international lenders to keep the island nation from economic collapse.

    In a televised speech to his country Monday night, Mr. Anastasiades said, "Our choices were not easy, nor the environment ideal."

    He said that as most banks on the Mediterranean island reopen Tuesday, capital restrictions will be imposed to prevent depositors from making massive cash withdrawals. But he said the restrictions would be "very temporary."

    In securing the rescue package, Cyprus avoided bankruptcy and an exit from the euro currency union. But the impact of the deal is drawing widely different interpretations.

    Wealthy Russian investors have parked vast sums, some of it ill-gotten, in Cypriot banks. But Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday that Cyprus, by agreeing to impose a tax of about 30 percent on big, uninsured accounts with more than $130,000, is "continuing, I think, to plunder the loot" of his countrymen.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe's chief advocate for forcing debt-ridden countries to resolve their financial woes, described the Cyprus rescue plan as fair.



    "I am very pleased that a solution was found last night and that we have been able to avoid an insolvency. I believe that a fair burden distribution was achieved. On the one hand, banks have to take responsibility for themselves which is what we have always said. We do not want taxpayers to save banks. Banks must save themselves. This is what will happen in the case of Cyprus.''



    The bailout terms were reached in last-minute negotiations in Brussels, just ahead of a deadline set by the European Central Bank. The central bank has said it would cut off emergency funding to Cypriot banks if no deal was reached. With the bailout secure, the bank said it would continue the emergency assistance.



    Cypriot officials warned of tough times ahead for the country, whose economy accounts for just two-tenths of one percent of the eurozone's economic fortunes. Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris predicted the Cypriot economy would recover. But he said the nation will be paying for the past mistakes of its bankers and the government, who together turned the island into a tax haven for offshore investors, with limited regulation.



    "I don't think there is any denying that the Cyprus people will have to go through some tough times and will suffer the consequences of a protracted period where wrong decisions were made, primarily at the banking level, but also the fiscal excesses that we had to adjust over a relatively short period of time."



    Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II said there "will be a lot of difficulties, some will lose their jobs, the poverty will increase."

    To secure the $13 billion bailout from their European neighbors, the central bank and International Monetary Fund, Cyprus had to raise $7.5 billion. As part of the deal, it agreed to close the island's second largest bank, Laiki, and enforce heavy losses on wealthy bank depositors. The island last week rejected an earlier plan sanctioned by the lenders that also would have taxed the insured accounts of small investors.

    If no deal had been reached, Cyprus would have defaulted, and likely been forced to leave the eurozone.

    Banks in Cyprus have been closed for more than a week during the crisis and the size of withdrawals by customers at automated teller machines has been limited. Officials said most banks would reopen Tuesday, but that the two biggest, the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki, would stay shut until Thursday.

    Cyprus becomes the fifth eurozone country where billions of dollars in bailouts have been needed to stave off a bankruptcy, following Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora