URGENT ¥¥¥ Cyprus MPs approve first EU bailout measures

The Cypriot parliament finally gave its approval late on Friday to the first two of eight measures hammered out by the government in a desperate bid to rescue an EU bailout by a Monday deadline.

MPs voted in favour of a national solidarity fund to be set up through the nationalisation of public and private sector pensions and of capital controls to prevent a run on the island's troubled banks when they are finally due to open on Tuesday after a more than week-long break.

The votes followed prolonged talks between party leaders on the package aimed at raising 5.8 billion euros ($7.47 billion) to unlock loans worth 10 billion euros or face being denied European Central Bank (ECB) emergency funds.

More contentious measures remain to be debated including a tax of up to 15 percent on bank deposits of 100,000 euros ($129,000) and more, a levy that in a slightly different form was rejected by MPs last Tuesday.

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