Long lines outside Cyprus banks, but situation is calm

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Associated Press

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 28 at 11:34 AM

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — There have been long lines of anxious people outside banks in Cyprus today, but no signs of trouble as the banks opened for the first time in nearly two weeks.

The reopening followed an agreement for an international bailout aimed at protecting the Mediterranean island country from financial ruin. The deal calls for the country's second-biggest bank to be split up. And depositors with more than $129,000 in either of the two biggest banks will face big losses -- as much as 80 percent of the amount they have above that level.

The government in Cyprus has imposed a daily limit on how much money people can withdraw, in order to prevent a run on the banks. It's the first such action in the 14-year history of the euro currency.

People in Cyprus appeared to take the measure in stride, aware that their economy has been teetering on the edge of collapse, and that any undue panic would make the situation worse.

The limits on transactions were imposed initially for seven days. The country's foreign minister says they should be fully lifted in a month.

%@AP Links

176-a-13-(George Ksenas (keh-SEHN'-ahz), pharmacist, in AP interview)-"get late checks"-Nicosia pharmacist George Ksenas says his workers will get paid late, and they'll just have to be patient. (28 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *176 (03/28/13)>> 00:13 "get late checks"

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<<CUT *196 (03/28/13)>> 00:11 "worried about Cyprus"

GRAPHICSBANK: 3d Stacks of 1 and 2 Euro coins on Cyprus flag, lettering "BANKS REOPEN", finished graphic (28 Mar 2013)

GRAPHICSBANK: Laiki bank branch, Euro bank notes, lettering "STRICT RESTRICTIONS", finished graphic (28 Mar 2013)

APPHOTO XPK110: An employee of the bank talks to the people as they wait outside a branch of Bank of Cyprus before it opened in Nicosia, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Banks in Cyprus reopened to customers for the first time in nearly two weeks Thursday, albeit with strict restrictions on transactions, after being closed to prevent people withdrawing all their savings during the country's acute financial crisis. Large lines had formed outside the banks ahead of the opening of banks for six hours from noon. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) (28 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO XPK110 (03/28/13)>>

APPHOTO XPK121: People are served in a branch of Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Banks in Cyprus reopened to customers for the first time in nearly two weeks Thursday, albeit with strict restrictions on transactions, after being closed to prevent people withdrawing all their savings during the country's acute financial crisis. Large lines had formed outside the banks ahead of the opening of banks for six hours from noon. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) (28 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO XPK121 (03/28/13)>>

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