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Cyprus Banks Finally Reopen After 12 Days

Cypriot Banks to Open After 12-day Closure
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

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.

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