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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Farmers Dream of a Green Christmas

It's probably fair to say that Christmas tree farming is a pretty seasonal business. It's also an industry where the existence of small independents is under threat.

A Year for Democracy, On Purpose or Not

Democracy in Iraq owes much to the determined efforts of U.S. President George W. Bush in 2005. So do democracy and constitutional order in the United States, if in a different way.

Traffic Jams as the City's Growth Industry

If you have been driving around Moscow -- no, let me rephrase that: If you have been trying to drive around Moscow this December, but instead have been whiling away the hours in traffic jams, it's not your imagination.

Business in Brief

Energy Sector Investment President Vladimir Putin called on the government to boost the attractiveness of the nation's energy industry for foreign investors, Interfax reported. Russia should improve the legal environment and the tax regime for the energy industry, Putin said at a meeting with the Security Council on Thursday, the news agency said. Putin also said that ""large-scale"" work needed to be undertaken to develop Russia's transport infrastructure to supply foreign markets. He did not exclude the possibility that Russia will build a gas pipeline to the Asia-Pacific region. (Bloomberg) Oil Exports Fall Russia exported less crude oil as higher duties prompted companies to refine more oil domestically. The nation's natural gas output growth rate slowed on lower demand in Europe. Crude oil exports in the first 10 months of 2005 fell 0.9 percent from the same period last year, the government said Thursday in a statement on its web site. The country expects to raise 2005 crude output by 2.

Agency Mulls Measures to Boost Local Trading

Russia may lower the amount of stock domestic companies can convert to foreign-traded depositary notes for sale on foreign markets and introduce new rules for IPOs that would force firms to list simultaneously on foreign and Russian exchanges, the head of the financial markets watchdog said Thursday.

State Will Buy 11% of Volga-Dnepr

Volga-Dnepr, the privately controlled air cargo giant, said Thursday that it would sell an 11 percent stake to state-owned Vneshekonombank early next year.

High Tech 'E-stonia' Bucks European Trends

Estonia, one realizes after a few days in the abiding twilight of a Baltic winter, is not like other European countries. The first tip-off is the government""s Cabinet room, outfitted less like a ceremonial chamber than a control center.

Train Bottleneck Stops Shipments

Russian Railways, the country's rail monopoly, said 160 trains carrying commodities were backed up outside ports, mainly in the Far East, as exporters and port authorities are locked in disputes.

News in Brief

Chechen Sisters Killed Two Chechen sisters have been shot and killed in Podolsk, just south of Moscow, Interfax reported Thursday. Yakha Bakayeva, 17, and her 16-year-old sister, Petimak, were killed by an unidentified assailant at the Podolsk train station on Wednesday, Interfax said. The girls' parents live in Podolsk with two other sisters and a brother. Police were investigating. (MT) Illness Called Psychological GROZNY -- A senior Chechen doctor said Thursday that the mysterious illness that has hit scores of schoolchildren appeared to be of psychological origin. At least 70 people, 53 of them children, fell ill this week in several towns with breathing trouble and headaches. Some officials said the symptoms could indicate a form of nerve-gas poisoning. But the head of Chechnya's narcology service, Musa Delsayev, said preliminary analysis pointed to a psychological cause and that ""the picture we are observing does not point to any form of illness whatsoever.

Tyagachyov Re-elected Olympics Chief

Leonid Tyagachyov was re-elected as president of the Russian Olympic Committee on Thursday, defeating an Olympic hero in a race that Russian media dubbed the first free election in the country’s sporting history.

Bill Would Convert State TV to Public TV

The Culture and Press Ministry has drafted a bill that would turn state-controlled television into public television, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Interior Troops to Fill Caucasus Ranks With Chechens

The Interior Troops will train hundreds of servicemen to fight in mountainous terrain, restructure its operational command in the North Caucasus and form two new battalions staffed with Chechnya natives to improve its capability to operate there, a senior commander told reporters on Thursday.

Spill Reaches City, Water Called Fine

A toxic spill that poisoned drinking water for millions of Chinese flowed into the city of Khabarovsk on Thursday, but authorities said the concentration of pollutants was no longer dangerous.

Milosevic's Russia Trip Opposed

War crimes prosecutors on Thursday opposed a request by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to visit a Moscow clinic, citing reports his family was in Russia and arguing he might not return to face trial.

Moscow Center to Fight Kiev's Bid to Join NATO

A Ukrainian lawmaker on Thursday harshly criticized her nation’s plan to join NATO and opened an information center in Moscow aimed at opposing the move.

Union to Halt New York Strike

Striking transit workers agreed to take steps to go back to work while their union and the transit authority resume negotiations, a state mediator said Thursday morning.

Christmas Presents Sent to Space

An unmanned Progress ship is carrying chocolates and two red holiday hats to the crew on the international space station.

Another 41 Are Jailed in Andijan Uprising

Courts in Uzbekistan have given long jail sentences to a further 41 people found guilty in two new closed trials of taking part in an uprising in May in the town of Andijan, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

State Managers Take Over AvtoVAZ

The new state-friendly management of AvtoVAZ began its work on Thursday by casting doubt on the future of the auto giant's joint venture with General Motors.

Chocolate, Cars Top Christmas Party Gifts

Businesses have been getting in the Christmas spirit ever since Charles Dickens -- or rather the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future -- transformed Ebeneezer Scrooge overnight into a funky, modern CEO who treated his workers to a big slap-up meal and entertainment.
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