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Tuesday, March 19, 2013 1:12 PM

Straight from the Rumor Mill

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Speculation on Cyprus is rampant. It is difficult to separate fact from fantasy as reports as to what is happening vary widely.

For example Ekathimerini reports "Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris is about to be replaced upon his return from his current trip to Moscow, Kathimerini understands, as he no longer enjoys the support of President Nicos Anastasiades following his handling of the crisis."

The ZeroHedge version of the story is Cyprus Finance Minister Resigns, President Refuses To Accept Resignation.

There is quite a bit of difference between being forced out and resigning.

Neither site provided links to their stories. The Telegraph live blog just chimed in with "17.39 Cyprus's finance minister has told Reuters that there is "not truth" to reports of his resignation."

Of course, no link was provided to Reuters. The sad state of affairs in blogging is many sites do not link to anything but themselves, and when you search for a story, you often cannot find it.

Here are more unreferenced reports from the above linked-to live blog.

16.29 More from AFP, which now says that although the Cypriot parliament has opened a session to vote, it is unclear whether any voting will take place as all parties - including the ruling party of President Anastasiades - have threatened to abstain.

16.18 The bailout vote is going ahead, even though it is doomed to fail (16.15). According to French news agency AFP, debate in the Cypriot parliament has just opened.

16.15 The party of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will abstain from taking part in a parliamentary vote on an EU bailout due to be held on Tuesday, a party member said.
Seriously guys, I understand that if there is no link, you cannot provide one, but otherwise, how hard would it be for the Telegraph to have made "AFP" a link.

Straight From the Book of Official Denials

Straight from the book official denials (typically lies) , comes this set of official statements courtesy of the Reuters Cyprus aims to let small savers off bank tax; veto still likely

  • "The feeling I'm having is that the house is going to reject the bill," President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters earlier in the day. Asked why, he added: "Because they feel and they think that it is unjust and it's against the interests of Cyprus at large." 
  • Three parties have said outright they will not support the tax, while a fourth, in the governing coalition, said it cannot support it as it stands.
  • French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the euro zone could not lend Cyprus any more, since the country's debt would become unmanageable. "Above 10 billion euros we are entering into a size of debt that is not sustainable," Moscovici told reporters in Paris. 
  • Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the group of euro zone finance ministers, said there would be no need to impose a levy in other euro countries. 
  • Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Anshu Jain told a Bundesbank conference in Frankfurt. "We see near term contagion risk as limited. This is unlikely to be a model for other European Union states."

Clearly, rumors are flowing as are lies and official denials.

Meanwhile, Cyprus ATMs are drained of cash, the stock exchange is suspended, and votes have already been postponed numerous times.

I am hoping the Cypriot parliament rejects the deal outright, and on that score we will see soon enough unless they postpone the vote again.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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