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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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French Firm to Build Local Yogurt Factory

The French food conglomerate BSI, which has been importing its Danone yogurt to Moscow and selling it at artificially low prices, plans to open a factory here within the next two years. The company has been selling its product for the last few weeks at its store on Ulitsa Tverskaya. Jacques Vincent, a director of BSI, who launched the shop and announced the strategy at a press conference last week, said at the moment the store had set its prices as if it were producing here. Danone had estimated the likely unit cost that would apply when the local factory was opened and used them as the basis for its pricing. He said the shop was designed to test the Russian market and prices had been set to reach as wide a section of the Moscow public as possible. Prices at the hard currency section of the store, which currently accounts for about 20 percent of sales, are higher but there are no queues for the product.

The Mutable Roles of Islam In Tajikistan

Imamudi Saifiddy, 28, would like to see an Islamic republic in Tajikistan, but his idea of what that would entail tells much about just how little Islamic fundamentalism has to do with the republic's civil war. ""It would be like in Iran, where everyone studies the Koran"", said the Arabic-language teacher beneath the brightly colored minarets of Dushanbe's Madrassah, Tajikistan's only school for the study of Islam. ""I used to work on a collective farm picking cotton all day"", he said. ""They paid me 5 kopeks for one kilogram of cotton. Five kopeck? ! "" ""When there is an Islamic republic"", he went on, ""I will be able to sell whatever I collect for whatever price I want to, like in Iran. and if I save enough money, I could buy my own land"". Saifiddy's Islamic republic sounds a lot like the United States, or any other country where religious freedom and private ownership are the rights of any citizen. Such is the view of a teacher at the Madrassah.

Romania: On Lessons Past, Present

Octavian Paler, a particularly erudite leader of Romania's political opposition, commented recently that the country would reelect President Ion Iliescu last Sunday because of ""people who fear the unknown and who fear change"". Why else would they vote for a former politburo member who, to this day, cannot bring himself to condemn communism's role in Romania as a mistake? Even so, early returns show that Iliescu won his runoff vote against a liberal opponents last weekend, comfortably. If you think about it, most elections anywhere are won by fear of the unknown. People do tend to vote conservatively and with their pockets. The British, to name but one example, did not vote for John Major because of his sparkling personality. They were just too worried about what the Labor opposition, so long out of power and so poorly led, might do to the economy. And in Romania, as in Russia or Georgia, the average voter has a great deal more to fear.

Women Lectured on Contraception

Abortion need no longer be the primary method of family planning in Russia, a New York feminist told about 50 Russian women activists and doctors at a symposium on women's reproductive health Monday. To back up that statement, she brought a slew of birth control devices, family planning experts and doctors who will demonstrate U. S. abortion procedures and Norplant implants. ""Women in Russia must start taking control of their health care"", Merle Hoffman, a pro-choice activist and president of Choices Women's Medical Center, told her audience. Following a presentation about the New York center, Hoffman was inundated by the participants when she attempted to disperse condoms. Her well-dressed listeners surged toward her in a mass of outstretched arms and hands groping for the small plastic packets. ""I was amazed"", said a breathless Hoffman later. She added that she was also amazed that the women were stunned by her remarks that they must take power of a system that affects their lives and bodies.

Rocket Plant Needs a Boost

The maker of the Russian space shuttle, the Lightning rocket plant, is, like many Russian companies, now trying to get out of the defense business. ""We just have a problem with money at the moment"", deputy director Alexander Tarasov told a tour group inspecting the factory's efforts to convert to civilian production Monday. ""But our engineering is excellent"". After 16 years spent developing Buran, Russia's space shuttle, the company simply called Lightning - Molnya in Russian - is now looking for a new vocation for its tens of thousands of workers and string of aerospace factories around Moscow and Samara. When it was established in 1976, Lightning had expected the Russian military to fill Buran's cargo holds with anti-ballistic and spy satellites. But the military does not need big loads anymore nor does anyone else. Buran may have performed well in an unmanned test flight last year, but today with a payload of 300 tons it is just too big.
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