Cyprus is expected to make a dramatic U-turn on Saturday to avert the imminent threat of financial meltdown, having signaled it is willing to tax big savers in its stricken banks to clinch a bailout from the European Union.

The island's partners in the 17-nation euro zone scheduled a meeting for Sunday in Brussels, in a strong sign they believe a solution is near.

As hundreds of demonstrators faced off with riot police outside parliament late into Friday night, lawmakers inside voted to nationalize pension funds, pool state assets for a bond issue and peel good assets from bad in stricken banks.

Officials said a deal was imminent to raise 5.8 billion euros demanded by the EU in return for a 10 billion euro ($13.00 billion) lifeline, including some kind of levy on bank deposits, which could be voted on as soon as Saturday.

Without a deal by Monday, the European Central Bank has threatened to cut off cash for Cypriot banks, spelling certain collapse and possible ejection from the euro.

read more ...