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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Europe Won't Buy Bush's Big Idea

The troubled transatlantic relationship will be back in the limelight this weekend at the annual Munich conference on security policy.

The Trials of Telecommunication

We've all had it happen. The phone rings in your apartment, you answer in your most polite voice, ""?????"" And in reply a cantankerous voice asks, ""??? ????"" (who's that?)

Press Review

A brief look at the stories making headlines in the Russian-language press

Business in Brief

January Budget Surplus MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The budget surplus was 5.3 percent of gross domestic product, or 55.5 billion rubles ($2 billion) in January, compared with a 4.5 percent surplus in January last year, a Finance Ministry official said Thursday. Revenues stood at 217.8 billion rubles ($7.63 billion) compared with 181.5 billion rubles a year earlier. Spending was 162.4 billion rubles ($5.69 billion) after 143.7 billion rubles in January 2003, the official said. The primary surplus, which excludes debt costs, amounted to 6.4 percent of GDP, or 66.5 billion rubles. Last January, the primary surplus was 52.3 billion rubles, or 6.2 percent of GDP. Mitsubishi Steel Deal MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Japan's Mitsubishi said Thursday it has signed a cooperation agreement with Nizhny Tagil Iron and Steel Plant. The companies are now studying the amount of money and other details involved, said a spokesman at Mitsubishi, who asked not to be identified. Nizhny Tagil may buy as much as $1.

Chechnya Adds to EU Tensions

The fighting in Chechnya has become a sore point in the continuing tug-of-war over trade issues between Russia and the European Union.

Marathon-Rosneft Venture Rumored

U.S. oil major Marathon is seeking to join up its fields in northern Siberia with production units belonging to state-owned Rosneft for a joint venture, news agencies reported Thursday.

Sibneft Signs 3 Oil Tankers to Ease Primorsk Bottleneck

Three new 114,000-ton ice-class crude tankers look set to ease shipment headaches for oil major Sibneft at the expanding but frozen Baltic port of Primorsk, Kommersant reported Thursday.

LUKoil's Interest in Ukraine Grows

LUKoil is trying to increase its stake in Lukor, a joint venture with Ukraine's biggest chemical company, Oriana. Ukraine plans to sell its 48 percent stake in the joint venture soon.

Shakhnovsky Found Guilty, Set Free

Vasily Shakhnovsky, the first key Yukos shareholder to go on trial, was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to one year in prison Thursday but immediately set free.

Dreaming About IT Excellence In Russia

The country that gave us the periodic table of the elements and launched the first Sputnik is not doomed to technological obsolescence in the 21st century. That was the verdict at the recent U.S.-Russia Technology Symposium at Stanford University, located in California's Silicon Valley.

U.S.-Russian Couple Fight for Kids in Court

A young Russian emigre couple from Boston, Natalya and Igor Sidorin, will be fighting over custody of their two sons in a Moscow courtroom on Friday.

News in Brief

Latvia Cabinet Resigns RIGA, Latvia (AP) -- Latvian Prime Minister Einars Repse announced late Thursday that his 14-month-old government was stepping down, saying his Cabinet can't continue working effectively without a majority in parliament. ""The prime minister chose now to resign because he doesn't think it possible to work in a minority government,"" said Guntars Gute, a spokesman for Repse's New Era party. Last week one of the parties making up Repse's center-right government, Latvia's First, resigned. On Olympics Standby ATHENS, Greece (Reuters) -- Russian special forces will be on standby for a nuclear or biochemical attack at the Athens Olympics, although they will be stationed three hours away in Moscow, officials said Thursday. Security officials are beginning a three-day nuclear and biochemical exercise Friday called ""Blue Odyssey,"" one of many planned emergency drills in the months leading up to the Games in August.

Putin Will Not Debate Challengers

President Vladimir Putin will not debate with other candidates in the run-up to the March 14 presidential election, Central Elections Commission chief Alexander Veshnyakov announced Thursday.

Ex-Deputies Refuse to Leave Posh Flats

The Kremlin property department is suing 64 deputies who lost re-election to the State Duma in December but are refusing to vacate their luxurious -- and rent-free -- apartments in western Moscow.

Lesin Joins Channel One Team

Press Minister Mikhail Lesin has been appointed a member of the board of state-controlled Channel One television in a shuffle that has prompted speculation over whether the government will take an even more active role in the station's operations.

Safin Drops Lawsuit

Ralif Safin, a former LUKoil vice president who ran against Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov in December, has dropped a lawsuit alleging election violations, Kommersant reported Thursday.

Teens Stage Language Protest in Latvia

About 6,000 Russian teenagers and schoolchildren staged a noisy protest outside Latvia's parliament just before lawmakers passed a law Thursday requiring that all public schools -- including those with all-Russian student bodies -- teach mainly in Latvian.
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