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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

08/30/2004

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Press Review

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

Israel Denies Spying on U.S., FBI Suspects Pentagon Aide

Israel denied on Saturday spying on its main ally, the United States, responding to suspicions a Pentagon analyst passed secret papers to the Jewish state about one of its most bitter enemies, Iran.

French Journalists Held in Iraq

Islamic militants released a brief tape showing two French journalists kidnapped recently in Iraq and said they were holding the men to protest a French law banning headscarves in schools, according to footage aired by an Arab TV station.

Business in Brief

New VAT Cut Mulled MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the country may cut the value added tax to 16 percent in 2006 from the current 18 percent if the country ends VAT tax breaks for companies, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing Kudrin at a press conference. The country's largest companies want the value added tax to be cut to between 10 percent and 12 percent, the newspaper said without naming the companies. Some companies, such as drug producers and companies making products for kids, currently pay the tax at a 10 percent rate, the newspaper said. The country lowered the tax from 20 percent in January 2004, to help sustain economic growth. The cut let domestic companies ""keep billions of rubles"" to spend on technical upgrades and other needs, said Gennady Yezhov, Kudrin's press secretary. The country, the world's biggest oil producer, has said its economy will probably grow as much as 7.1 percent this year, compared with 7.3 percent last year.

LUKoil Pulls the Plug on Unhappy U.S. Franchisee

Around 8:30 last Monday morning, Inderjeet Parmar ran out of gas. He sold the last 1,000 gallons at his Getty station in Queens and soon after, a city marshal arrived with an eviction notice and asked him to stand on the sidewalk as technicians checked his tanks for signs of sabotage.

Fradkov: Chinese Oil Exports Safe

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov pledged Friday that Russia would keep meeting its oil export commitments to China, an apparent reference to fears that a cut in production at the beleaguered Yukos oil company could harm Beijing.

Conoco Said in Talks for 25% of LUKoil

U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips is seeking to buy up to 25 percent in oil giant LUKoil to add billions of barrels of reserves to its books, an industry source familiar with the matter said Friday.

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