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News summary for November 17, 18

November 19, 2012, 8:37 UTC+3

News summary

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan held a telephone conversation on Friday to confirm the need for urgent efforts in order to put an end to violence in the Middle East as soon as possible and to return the situation onto the peace track, the Kremlin’s press-service said on Friday.

The telephone conversation was requested by the Turkish side.

“The main attention was paid to the worsening tensions over Gaza. In connection of the escalation of the armed conflict, which is causing civilian casualties, the Russian president and the Turkish prime minister agreed on the further coordination of efforts in the bilateral format and in contact with all parties concerned,” the press-service said.

Also, the parties exchanged views on the topical issues of Russian-Turkish relations in the context of the forthcoming meeting of the high level cooperation council.


MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree including Alexander Brod, director of the independent non-commercial organization Bureau for Human Rights, in the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, the Kremlin press service reports.

The issue to include Brod in the council was raised during the recent meeting of council members with the president. One of the members expressed regret that Brod was not in the council. Putin said "Let us include".

"I do not comment on the president's decisions. I suppose it is not the last change in the council makeup," council head Mikhail Fedotov told Itar-Tass.


MOSCOW — Russia seeks the adoption of an international convention against cyber wars, presidential aide Igor Shchyogolev said on Friday. At the same time he believes that it might make sense to study other countries’ experience of hiring hackers and offering them jobs at government agencies for the purpose of self-defense.

Rules of cooperation in the world web must be global, Shchyogolev said.

The idea of signing a convention against cyber wars is on the agenda.


MOSCOW — The Magnitsky Act passed by the House of Representatives is unfriendly with regard to Russia but it will have practically no impact on the visa regime between the two countries, Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mikhail Margelov said.


VLADIVOSTOK — The Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers 50 Let Pobedy (Fifty Years of Victory), Vaigach and Rossiya, for the first time in Northern Sea Route history, are leading a gas tanker carrying almost 135,000 cubic m of liquefied gas from the Norwegian port of Hammerfest to the Japanese port of Tobata.

The new page is history is opened by the Norwegian tanker OB RIVER.

The convoy has reached the East Siberian Sea, the Russian Transport Ministry's press service reported.

The ocean giant OB RIVER, which is 288 m long, and its deadweight is 84,682 t, was loaded in Hammerfest on November 7.


MOSCOW — Russia has not agreed on the volume of 23 million t of oil to be supplied to Belarus in 2013, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters.

The talks continue, he said.

The next round of the consultations is planned for next week.

Thus, the vice-premier denied the statement of Belarussian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko, who earlier said that the agreement was concluded. "As for next year, the figure will be 23 million tonnes. We have not heard objections here," he said.


KAZAN — All of Tatarstan’s districts will be connected to the GLONASS global navigation system before the end of this year, the republic’s Minister of Information and Communications Roman Shaikhutdinov said.

“The unified state information system GLONASS-112 became operational in July 2009. Its main purpose is to call emergency services using a single number, 112, and coordinating rescue and accident response efforts,” he told Itar-Tass on Saturday, November 17.

There are two emergency call processing centres in Tatarstan: in Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny. Their combined capacity is up to 70 operators and analysts.

Nearly 400 emergency services, more than 600 school buses and over 1,500 emergency vehicles are connected to GLONASS.


MOSCOW — Moscow and Washington have reached a preliminary agreement the United States will suspend its anti-dumping investigation into the supplies of hot-rolled steel from Russia to the US market, the Department of Commerce said on Friday evening.


MINSK — Russia does not exert any pressure on Belarus in order to persuade it redirect export flows from seaports in the Baltic countries to Russian ports in the Leningrad Region, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko told a news conference on Friday.

“We feel no pressures from Russia. That’s absolutely commercial interest,” he said, when asked about the recent statement by President Alexander Lukashenko to the effect Belarus was prepared to send part of its export cargoes to ports in the Leningrad Region.

Semashko said that land-locked Belarus would like to consider various proposals from different countries for using their sea ports, because “this minimizes political and economic risks.”


KIEV — Ukraine will import from Russia 26 billion cubic meters of gas this year, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Boiko said on television Friday evening.

“We told Russia outright that we dislike the amount of gas purchases and the price which are stated in the agreements the previous Ukrainian government signed,” Boiko said. “We are well aware that we will have frictions and problems with Russia on that issue. There have already been some. But we are not going to give up plans for cutting the import of gas or revising the price. This year we shall import 26 billion cubic meters of gas and pay precisely for that amount.”

He declared that Ukraine would soon get back to the theme of talks with Russia over the price and amounts of purchases.


KIEV — Ukraine is prepared for likely lawsuits Russia may file over the reduction in the purchases of gas, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Boiko said on television Friday evening.

“We do not rule out litigations. But our position is absolutely clear and comprehensible. We are reducing import under the contract concluded in 2008,” he said. “We shall have disputes with the Russian authorities, possibly, even in courts of law.”

Boiko said that in its actions Ukraine proceeded from its national interests.


KIEV — The price of natural gas that Ukraine purchases from Germany is 40-70 dollars below that of Russian fuel, Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Boiko said on television Friday evening.

“We have begun to get gas from Europe in the reverse mode. There is a contract for 5 billion cubic meters of gas with Germany’s RWE Supply&Trading,” he said. Boiko confirmed that the price of one thousand cubic meters of gas purchased in Europe was 40-70 dollars below the price of fuel available from Russia.

“We hope that the European gas will be 100 dollars cheaper next summer,” Boiko said.

The price of natural gas that Ukraine imports from Russia under a contract between Naftogaz Ukrainy and Gazprom in the fourth quarter of this year is 430 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters.


MOSCOW — Amendments to the Russian law on education do not bind to allocate special prayer rooms at schools, Vladimir Legoida, the spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, said on Sunday.

“There is no talk about any prayer rooms,” he said.

According to Legoida, the amendments concern two major things. “First, if an educational establishment, either a school or a higher education institution, owns a building that is or was the cult object, services may be conducted there. Second, if some parents want a clergyman come to serve a prayer, they will have the right to ask the school’s administration to permit such prayer at the school’s building, without forming any religious organization and outside regular classes.”


MOSCOW — Amendments to the Russian law on education in no way infringe upon the secular nature of state education, Vladimir Legoida, the spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, said on Sunday.

“I am speaking about the amendments to the law on education that are submitted by the Russian government. Representatives from Russia’s traditional religions took part in the work on these amendments. The amendments have no mention of the so-called prayer rooms, the term appeared due to one-sided interpretations of this law,” he said. According to Legoida, when passed, these amendments will be applicable not only to those who profess Orthodoxy but to those who profess all other traditions religions.


SEOUL — Russia delivered a new unit for the rocket Naro-1 to South Korea instead of a defective unit, over which the third attempt at the launch of the rocket Naro-2, which was carrying a scientific satellite, was cancelled several hours before the launch, the South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technologies reported on Sunday.

The spare part, which is a rubber seal that is connecting the first liquid stage of the rocket with the launching pad, was brought to the spaceport Naro in the south of the Korean Peninsula, 480 kilometres south of Seoul.

The space engineers will replace the defective unit within 2-3 days and will finalize the check of the onboard systems of the rocket also known as the Korean Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-1).



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