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News summary for April 1

April 02, 2013, 8:56 UTC+3

All the headlines from the day's news

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MOSCOW Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met the deadline to file income declarations for 2012 that expires on Monday, April 1. Under the law, the high-ranking state officials are to file income declarations before April 1 every year.

“The Russian president and all high-ranking officials of his administration have prepared and filed their income declarations under the law,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Itar-Tass on Sunday. “This issue is being kept under special control, and the income declarations will be made public within the period of time set in the law,” Peskov pledged. In the previous year the income declarations were made public on April 12.

“The prime minister and the whole Cabinet filed their income declarations for 2012,” Medvedev’s spokesperson Natalia Timakova told Itar-Tass.


MOSCOW Members of the State Duma and Federation Council lower and upper houses of Russia’s parliament have completed the submission of income and property declarations - under the law, on Monday the deadline for their submission expired. These data are expected to be available to the public on the websites of both houses by April 10.


MOSCOW Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on Tuesday with President of Yemen Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi, the Kremlin press service reports on Monday.

The two presidents are expected to discuss the whole range of bilateral ties, including prospects to strengthen cooperation in the trade, economic, fuel and energy, humanitarian and other sectors.

The president of Yemen arrives in Russia for an official visit.


NOVO-OGAREVO President Vladimir Putin promised to solve the question of benefits for small enterprises created at federal universities.

At a meeting with the students, post-graduate students and faculty members of Baltic Federal University on Monday, April 1, one of them noted that small enterprises created at the university had no benefits because the university has the status of a federal educational institution.


NOVO-OGARYOVO Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to consider permitting immigrants staying in Russia with educational visas to get employed outside the places of their study.

The request to consider this matter was made during the president’s meeting with students, postgraduates and teachers of Baltic Federal University.


NOVO-OGAREVO President Vladimir Putin said Baltic Federal University should not confine itself to medicine and bio-medical technologies only and should develop activities in all areas.

The University’s Vice Rector for Development and Innovations Timur Gareyev said the creation of a special economic zone in Kaliningrad Region had allowed the University to work out its own socioeconomic development programme geared to the region’s needs. The University will focus on medicine, biology and bio-medical technologies.

Gareyev asked Putin to support the University’s development strategy.


NOVOKUZNETSK Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has pledged support to the EVRAZ Iron and Steel Plant to realise production and establish contacts with Russian Railways.

Meeting workers of the plant on Monday, Medvedev said, “Don’t doubt. We’ll provide any support - moral and organisational, as well as within establishing contacts with Russian Railways.”

The prime minister said Russian Railways was ready to acquire the plant’s production. “The plant is ready to buy production. Thus, you’ll be able to realise production on the internal market, as well as on the CIS market,” Medvedev added.


NOVOKUZNETSK Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev admitted that mortgage loan interest rates could not be lowered to 7 percent this year as was expected earlier.

At the same time, he stressed the need to continue efforts to try to reduce them to at least 10 percent.

He noted that the current level of inflation in Russia does not make it possible to implement this task in 2013. “But I will tell you frankly, inflation is a rather complex issue and we won’t make it to 7 percent this year of course but we will try to push the rate as low as possible to at least 9-10 percent,” the prime minister said.


MOSCOW Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday, April 3, will hold talks in Moscow with President of Yemen Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, the press service of the Russian government reported on Monday.

“Medvedev and Hadi will discuss the state of and prospects for the development of bilateral trade and economic relations, sectoral cooperation, cooperation in the sphere of education and culture,” the press service said.


MOSCOW The Russian government has submitted to the State Duma a draft law on amendments to the Tax Code aimed at the promotion of investment projects in the territories of the Far Eastern Federal District, the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Republic of Buryatia and the Irkutsk Region.

The document is aimed at the creation of favourable tax conditions for the stepping up of investment activities and for the assistance to the establishment of new industrial facilities and promotion of high-tech projects in the territories of the Far Eastern Federal District, the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Republic of Buryatia and the Irkutsk Region.


MOSCOW Russia’s consumer inflation rate is estimated at 0.5 percent over March and two percent over the first three months of the year, the Russian Economic Development Ministry said in its weekly survey on Monday.

The year-to-year consumer inflation rate amounts to 7.2 percent, the document underlined.

In March 2012, the country’s inflation rate totaled 0.6 percent and 1.5 percent over the first three months, the ministry reaffirmed.


MOSCOW Spring army conscription started in Russia on April 1 in keeping with a presidential decree.

In the period from April 1 to July 15, some 153,200 young men aged 18-27 will be drafted into the Armed Forces.

According to the Foreign Ministry press service, this represents a decrease of 2,370 persons from the same period of last year when 155,570 young men were drafted. Of that number, 49,700 are specialists (32.5 percent of all draftees), and 46,800 young men have trained in military-related skills at various organsiations, schools and DOSAAF clubs. Some 18-19 percent of draftees have higher education.

Three hundred and seven draftees will join 1,101 young men who are currently undergoing civilian substitute service.


MAKHACHKALA About 800 Dagestanis will be conscribed into Russia’s Armed Forces, chief enlistment officer Daitbeg Mustafayev told Itar-Tass.

A total of 70 percent of Dagestani conscripts will serve in the Defence Ministry’s troops. Last autumn a total of 609 people were conscribed from Dagestan while 100 people out of them served in the Defence Ministry’s troops. “Totally, up to 40,000 people will be conscribed this spring,” Mustafayev said.

“Due to denials of determent of call-up, the condition and other circumstances Dagestan will be able to enlist 25,000-30,000 strong guys this spring. Till now the republic has the following quotas. We hope that at least 4,000 or 5,000 people will be conscribed from the republic,” the chief enlistment officer said.


MOSCOW A Russian-Croatian agreement on reciprocal trips by citizens signed on March 2, 2010 has come in force.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the new visa agreement between Russia and Croatia will replace the old document signed by the governments of the USSR and the Federal Executive Council of the Assembly of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on October 31, 1989.

The new agreement establishes basically a visa travel regime for citizens of the two countries and facilitates procedures of issuing single visas for a period of up to 90 days on the basis of direct appeals of receiving organizations without presentation of invitation letters as provided for by the legislations of Russia and Croatia.


MOSCOW To counter cyber threats in Russia it has been proposed to establish centres to respond to virtual threats and introduce the subject of cyber education at schools. It is envisaged by the draft Strategy of Cyber Security, prepared by a working group with the participation of members of the Federation Council upper house of parliament, representatives of the Ministry of Communications, Interior Ministry (MVD) and the expert community.


MOSCOW Russia receives some 5,0006,000 notifications about arms control from Western countries a year, Sergei Ryzhkov, the chief of the Defense Ministry’s department for international agreements observance control, told reporters on Monday.


MOSCOW  Russia will consider the possibility of engaging its companies in investment and infrastructure projects in Darfur, the Russian president’s special representative for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.


MOSCOW Old-age, disability and survivors’ pensions in Russia will grow by 3.3 percent from April 1, the Labour Ministry said.

In accordance with the Law “On Labour Pensions in the Russian Federation”, they are raised “on the basis of an average monthly increase in salaries in the country, the Pension Fund’s budget growth rate per pensioner, subject to adjustments in the insured part of retirement pensions in the same period in connection with price rises,” specialists said.

The additional increase in retirement pensions will benefit 37 million pensioners and 550,000 retired military personnel.


MOSCOW Russian-Kyrgyz draft agreements on the construction of the cascade of Verkhne-Naryn hydroelectric power plant and the Kambaratin-1 hydroelectric power plant have been prepared for ratification, the government’s website reported on Monday.

The agreements have been approved by the Government Commission on Legislative Activities. They were signed in Bishkek in September 2012 within Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Kyrgyzstan.

At present, the agreements will be debated by the Russian government, which will submit them to the State Duma for ratification.


MOSCOW The Russian State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation and State Construction on Monday recommended the parliament’s lower house to adopt a bill introducing a fine of up to 5,000 rubles (about 130$) for drunk bike riders in the first reading.


MOSCOW An average price of Russia’s Urals oil blend amounted to 111.00 U.S. dollars per barrel in the first three months of the current year, which was 5.5 percent less than in the same period of the preceding year, Russian Finance Ministry’s expert Alexander Sakovich told Itar-Tass on Monday.


MOSCOW Tbilisi’s concern over Russia’s military exercises in the Black Sea is far-fetched and not getting on with Georgia’s drive for normalizing relations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday.

Commenting on the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s statement, Lukashevich said, “Georgia’s ‘deep concern’ over the exercises in the Black Sea is far-fetched. It is rather evident amidst the world community’s adequate reaction.”


MOSCOW On Tuesday, negotiations with representatives of the agricultural industry of Georgia on the return to Russia of Georgian agricultural products will be held at the Russian Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service (Rosselkhoznadzor), its press secretary Alexei Alexeyenko told Itar-Tass.

Russia and Georgia are to discuss issues related to the possibility of the resumption of Georgian exports of vegetables, fruits, herbs, cheese, honey and other agricultural products to Russia.


KIEV Ukraine reduced Russian gas import by 23 percent in January-February as compared with the same period of 2012 and reached 4.742 billion cubic metres, the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry’s press service reported on Monday.

In February Russian gas import decreased up to 2.251 billion cubic metres.

According to the State Customs Service, Ukraine imported gas at the total amount of 2.168 billion U.S. dollars in January-February.

According to the Ukrainian budget, the mid-year price on Russian gas is of 421 dollars for 1,000 cubic metres.


KIEV Natural gas supplies to Ukraine via Poland have been increased by over 2.5 times and reach up to five million cubic metres per day, the Ukrtransgaz press service told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“Our company complies with all contracts to transit gas without any delay and in strict compliance with the technical agreements,” the press service said.

Ukraine imports gas via Poland by the Du-500 pipeline within the contract, which has been signed between Naftogaz Ukrainy and Germany’s RWE Supply&Trading.


KIEV Ukraine’s gasoline production dropped by 63.2 percent in the first two months of the year, as compared to the same period of 2012, to stand at 171,200 tonnes, the press service of the republican Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry said.

In February 2013, Ukraine’s gasoline output went down by 55.4 percent as against February 2012, and totalled 96,400 tonnes.

In January-February 2013, the country’s diesel fuel production dropped by 58.9 percent to 142,500 tonnes, while the production of furnace fuel decreased by 72.2 percent to 89,300 tonnes, the press service said.


KIEV Ukraine has decreased the import of oil by seven times in January-February 2013, as compared to the same period of the preceding year, to 111,400 tonnes, an official at the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry said on Monday.

According to the ministry, Ukraine’s oil transit to Europe’s countries dropped by 10.7 percent to 2.399 million tonnes in the first two months of the year.


KIEV  The Simferopol-based company Chernomorneftegaz intends to increase daily natural gas production at offshore fields in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov from the current level of 4 billion cubic metres to 5 billion cubic metres in 2014.

The company will use high-tech floating drilling rigs to this end. Two of them have finished drilling two exploratory wells at the offshore Shtormovoye gas condensate field. One of them will be transferred to another field and the other one will undergo scheduled repairs.

The company is planning to increase gas production in offshore areas by 40 percent in 2013 to 1.649 billion cubic metres.


CHISINAU Moldova’s public express indignation with a draft law, which envisages depriving Russian the status of a language of inter-ethnic communication, head of the parliamentary commission for ethnic minorities rights Vadim Mishin said.

“The Liberal Party’s initiative touches upon fascism. It is rather difficult to imagine such a cynical and senseless draft law on ethnic minorities in Moldova. Thousands of citizens, who consider this initiative the explicit violation of human rights, address us. In fact, this is the beginning of ‘the cold war’, which can lead to the split of the society and even to an armed conflict,” Mishin told journalists on Monday.


BAKU The Shah Deniz consortium has started analysing final proposals over the routes of Azerbaijani natural gas transportation to Europe in the format of the second stage of the same-named gas condensate deposit located on the Caspian Sea shelf, said the BP Azerbaijan company, which is the technical operator of the project for the Shah Deniz field development.

The question is about the two possible routes of gas export to Europe, including the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP project) and the Nabucco West pipeline project.


BISHKEK Kyrgyzstan’s Finance Ministry has suspended financing Russia’s Channel One broadcasts in the Kyrgyz territory until some details of bilateral agreement are clarified, Kyrgyz Finance Minister Olga Lavrova told Itar-Tass on Monday.

She explained that the Ministry had temporarily suspended and not totally stopped the financing of Channel One.



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