Cyprus takes steps to bring down joblessness

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus has earmarked 340 million euros ($467.5 million) to help combat joblessness, which is expected to peak next year at over 19 percent in the bailed-out country.

President Nicos Anastasiades says 300 million euros — half of which will come from the European Investment Bank — will be channeled to commercial banks for low-interest loans to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Some 7 million euros will help subsidize one existing employee's salary for 10 months at each of 1,000 small retail businesses. The government will also pay half the salary of newly-hired jobless persons in the sector for six months.

Another 8.5 million euros will be used to support 2,500 university graduates under 35 to gain six months-worth of workplace experience. Anastasiades unveiled a total of ten unemployment-fighting measures on Wednesday.

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