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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-12-30
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 30 December 2013 Issue No: 4548
 FinMin: No third bailout memorandum, no haircut on bank deposits"The country will not sign a third bailout memorandum and will regain access to financial markets in 2014," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with Sunday newspaper Realnews.
In addition, he ruled out a haircut on bank deposits and said that there will not be any mass layoffs in the public sector.
Stournaras revealed that the taxation will be reduced in 2016 and that the social security contributions will decrease in 2014.
Referring to the fiscal gap which consists Greece's argument with the troika of lenders (EC, ECB, IMF), he noted that it is below 1.0 billion euros and that measures to cover it have already been proposed.
Moreover, he clarified that there will not be an additional state budget that will foresee new restructuring or fiscal measures and estimated that cumulatively until 2017 a substantial fiscal gap will not exist.
As for the country's access to financial markets, the Finance minister believes this will be restored in 2014, clarifying that it will be achieved mostly through five-year bonds. However, the "number one" condition for this is that the State Budget's positive results will continue," he added.
The Finance Minister reassured that there will not be another tax system and noted that "the codes that we passed in parliament have simplified the system".
On the banks' privatisation he said that he is not worried whether Greeks or foreigners will buy them because "what matters is that competitiveness works right."
"We do not intend to introduce a bill on mass layoffs," Stournaras said, clarifying that the issue remains open because "our lenders insist that we do so".
Stournaras strongly ruled out the possibility of a haircut on bank deposits: "There will not be a haircut on bank deposits...today we have in Europe a rudimentary bank union and the guarantee of the bank deposits is part of that policy."
 SYRIZA on Stournaras' interview"Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras' interview on Sunday is another proof of the huge distance that separates the government with the needs and the expectations of the Greek people" said main opposition SYRIZA in an announcement on Stournaras' interview to RealNews.
 BoG chief: 'We must secure the country's economic prospects'Greece's economy has made substantial progress and the country will soon be returning to growth rates, governor of Bank of Greece (BoG) Giorgos Provopoulos said in an interview with Sunday newspaper Proto Thema.
Provopoulos however noted that given that 2014 is an elections year and the positive forecasts "may weaken if not cancelled" if the political dispute intensifies," then it is imperative that " political and social forces be united on a positive plan for the country's exit from the crisis."
He ruled out the possibility of a haircut on bank deposits and underlined that the Greek banks are adequately capitalised.
Regarding the recovery of the economy, he noted that the effort has not been completed yet. "We must cover the last most difficult mile, stabilisation is still fragile," he said.
He underlined that "it is a national demand to safeguard what we have already achieved at huge social cost, to avoid setbacks and to secure the country's economic prospects."
 Greece's efforts to exit the crisis should not be relaxed, in spite of encouraging signs, ECB's Draghi tells Der SpiegelBERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that "many things in Greece are changing to the better, but there is no doubt that many more things still have to be done."
In an interview with the magazine to be out on Monday, Draghi notes that in the case of Greece it is no surprise that great patience is required.
The ECB head also underlines that there are encouraging signs for getting through the crisis, but Greece's efforts toward this end should not be relaxed.
 Rompuy sees signs of growth in GreecePresident of the European Council Herman van Rompuy said on Sunday that the European economic activity was expected to recover in 2014, stressing that there will be recovery across the eurozone, but not in Slovenia and Cyprus.
"In the eurozone, excluding Slovenia and Cyprus, we will move toward growth with a positive sign," Rompuy told Belgium's television channel VTM.
He stressed that even those member states facing difficulties, such as Spain and Greece, are showing signs of growth.
Rompuy said he believed that 2014 will be the year of recovery, even though such recovery would not be visible because of the persistence of bad data on unemployment.
Job creation will need more time, he added.
Rompuy is currently writing a book entitled "Europe after the storm."
 Unemployment: Citizens' biggest fear in 2013, opinion poll showsUnemployment is the issue that mostly terrifies Greek citizens, according to the results of an opinion poll conducted by Kapa Research for Sunday newspaper "Vima".
Unemployment is the most important issue of 2013 and leads with 61.2 percent, followed by the haircut on bank deposits in Cyprus with 24.7 percent and the arrest of far-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) leadership with 14.1 percent.
The citizens put the blame for the unemployment on the trade unions (95.2 pct), on the enterprises bodies (89.8 pct) on the main opposition SYRIZA (88.9 pct) and on the government (84.1 pct).
According to the poll's results, pessimism prevails regarding the developments in Greece, with 69 percent of the respondents saying that the worse is coming, while 25 percent believe that the worst has passed.
71 percent of the respondents said that the word that better describes developments in Greece is "catastrophe", 25 percent "stagnation" and 18.5 percent "crisis."
However, 56 percent said they would leave the country if they could, while 39 percent responded negatively.
 FM Venizelos condemns Sunday's terrorist attack in RussiaGovernment vice-president and Foreign minister Evangelos Venizelos on Sunday evening condemned the deadly terrorist attack earlier in the day in the Russian city of Volgograd.
"We express our abhorrence and unequivocal condemnation of today's barbarous act of terrorism that resulted in the injury and death of innocent Russian citizens at the railway station in the Russian city of Volgograd. We express our support for our Russian friends and our deep condolences to the families of the victims," Venizelos said in a press release.
 KKE: The people should have the leading role in developments in 2014In a message for the New Year addressed to the people, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called on workers and young people to be optimistic and make 2014 a year of the people's uplifting struggle.
In an announcement issued Sunday, the party said that "in spite of difficulties and the terrifying dilemmas set by those who want the people in the spot and in the role of passive observers, KKE will use all of its strength for a decisive step to be made in the reorganisation of the labour-people's movement, organising the resistance in the workplace and strengthening the People's Alliance between the working classes, farmers, professionals, youth and women."
It stressed that the people should have "the leading role in developments" in 2014.
 KKE on extension of stores' working hours on Saturday in AthensCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Saturday on the opening of stores in Athens until 23.00 on Saturday noted "The opening hours is not the reason the citizens do not shop, the reason is the poverty and squalor of the working classes families" said KKE.
 Ambassador of China declared honorary citizen of Heraklio, CreteThe ambassador of China in Greece Du Qiwen was declared on Saturday honorary citizen of the city of Heraklio, Crete by Heraklio mayor Yannis Kourakis in an event held in Loggia in the presence of representatives of the local authorities.
Kourakis called Du Qiwen a special man, friend of Greece and of Crete noting that he struggled to enhance and promote the friendship and cooperation between Greece and China in important sectors as tourism.
 Children's hospital president Haris Tombouloglou released on bailChildren's hospital "Aglaia Kyriakou" president Haris Tombouloglou, who is accused of bribery and extortion, was released after paying a 150.000-euro bail, following his deposition before a prosecutor late Saturday evening.
He was also denied exit from the country and has to report to a police station twice a month.
A unnamed 40-year-old man, allegedly an accomplish of Tomboulogou's, also appeared before a prosecutor earlier on Saturday, for whom Tombouloglou maintains that has no criminal involvement in the case.
Haris Tobouloglou, 54, was arrested on Tuesday over charges that he demanded a 25,000 euro bribe from an advertising company which had won a bid at the state hospital before he would approve the final contract.
 Salaries in Greece dive to seven-year low in 2013Greek salaries in 2013 recorded a massive drop to 2006 levels, as they have been falling for 13 successive quarters, or more than three years, as shown by data released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
In the past three years, workers have lost one-fourth (25 pct) of their income and Greece now ranks among the countries with the biggest wage reduction on a European level.
The ELSTAT study focused on employees' earnings in both the public and private sectors, between the first quarter of 2006 and the third quarter of 2013.
According to the data, the last time an earnings growth was recorded in the country was the second quarter of 2010, when the wage index increased by 1.4 pct (seasonally adjusted and unadjusted working days. In seasonally unadjusted terms, the increase in the index was just 0.2 pct).
In the third quarter 2013, the annual change in the wage index rose to -6.0 pct (adjusted working days, and not seasonally adjusted) and was the second largest decline in the European Union following Cyprus' -7.7 pct.
 Eight ski resorts open in Greece on SaturdayThree of the five largest ski resorts in Northern Greece did not open on Saturday due to heavy rainfall.
Open are only the ski resorts of Vasilitsa in Grevena and Kaimaktsalan (Voras Mt). Closed are the resorts of 3-5 Pigadia and Seli in Naoussa as well as Elatohori in Pieria.
However, new snowfalls are expected to snow on Tuesday night.
On Saturday eight ski resorts throughout Greece are open with 19 ski lifts in operation of 9,080 meters length.
 Man mistaken for game and shot dead by hunter, near LamiaA 30-year-old man was on Sunday afternoon shot dead by the fire of a hunter near Kombotades village, ten kilometres west of Lamia, Central Greece.
According to initial reports, the victim, an electrician from Piraeus, was walking by himself on a trail and was heading to mount Oiti for bird hunting, while a group of hunters were nearby waiting in ambush for wild boars.
The victim, who stayed in a farmhouse just a few hundred metres away from where the accident occurred, was on a visit to the area to pass the Christmas holidays with his parents.
One of the hunters, 41, told police later that he mistook the 30-year-old man for a wild boar and shot at him.
 Mostly fair on MondayScattered clouds and northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Cloudy in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 0C-14C. Fair in the south, 5C-17C; some clouds over the islands, 8C-16C. Fair in Athens, 6C-17C; the same for Thessaloniki, 4C-14C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceEPOCHI: Scandal triangle.
ETHNOS: Resounding names to Justice for bribery.
KATHIMERINI: Vision of Greece in the future.
KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: The 'take all' gang.
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: 2014 must become the year of the revival of the popular struggle.
LOGOS: Names and addresses.
PROTO THEMA: Greedy Thomas' (Kantas, former Defence Ministry official) kickbacks.
REAL NEWS: Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras' interview: I rule out the possibility of a 'haircut' in bank deposits.
TO PARON: Kantas involves political leader in the kickbacks case.
TO VIMA: The lost Greece! Half of the Greek population would leave the country if they could.
TYPOS TIS KYRIAKIS: The changes in taxes in 2014.
VRADYNI: The 12 secret measures for social security.
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