Cyprus aims to boost small businesses, jobs growth

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus will spend €300 million ($387 million) to boost small businesses and create new jobs as the recession-hit country aims to clinch an international bailout by early next month.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said Wednesday that the money will come from the European Investment Bank and proceeds from bids for exploratory offshore oil and gas drilling rights.

Cyprus asked its eurozone partners in June for aid to prop up its Greece-exposed banks.

President Dimitris Christofias has appealed to grumbling trade unions to "act patriotically" and accept around €1 billion ($1.3 billion) worth of public sector wage cuts and tax hikes his government wants to negotiate with the "troika" — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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