New music channel for Slovak listeners

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A new music channel is opening in Slovakia. The Bratislava-based TV group Servis has obtained a TV licence to provide music. Broadcasting and Retransmission Council (RVR) gave the licence a green light. Servis has been offered 13 free frequencies that will allow it to reach some 20 percent of the Slovak region. According to Peter Kovac, chief of RVR, “TV Servis had a professionally prepared project.”...


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Higher spending puts 2003 state budget at risk

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Higher social spending approved by members of parliament can put the 2003 budget at risk, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Next year’s budget has just 50 percent of the money it needs for spending on budget priorities, according to local reports. Just 13 billion Slovak crowns will be available for the 2003 state budget, while this year’s budget set aside 30 billion crowns of a total of 258 billion in planned spending for defence and highway development....


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Swedish Swedwood mulls cancelling Slovak investment

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Swedwood, a Sweden-based furniture maker, announced it might cancel a planned 500 million Slovak crown (USD 11 million) investment for the development of a wood processing plant in Slovakia because it cannot agree with a state forest company on supplier prices and quantities, according to local reports....


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Clients get protection for bank deposits

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Bank clients are now getting more protection for their deposits from the Deposit Protection Fund. Effective July 1, clients can get possible repayments if bank crashes total more than 500,000 Slovak crowns (USD 11,000), according to local reports....


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Parliament ratifies new law on retail chains

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Slovakia’s parliament ratified a new law on retail chains week before last. However, the new law has drawn criticism from the European Union because it says it fails to conform to the EU’s free movement of goods rules, according to the Slovak Spectator. Even though the law left out a draft rule that retail chains in Slovakia carry nearly three-quarters of domestic goods, Dirk Meganck, the EC’s main negotiator for Slovakia’s accession, said the new requirement that stores carry a “proportional as...


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Bratislava, Tehran ponder cooperation possibilities

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Iran and Slovakia must take advantage of opportunities available and develop contacts to bolster bilateral relations, IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi as saying. The two nations must also further acquaint themselves with one another’s potential and capacity for cooperation, he added.
Slovak Ambassador to Tehran Vladimir Lomen recently met with the Iranian government official. According to Kharrazi, Iran-Slovakia “cooperation is expanding.” Meanwhile, Lomen noted he too would ...


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Irish Webfactory clinches Slovak government project

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E-business development group Webfactory of Ireland has been chosen to collaborate with the Slovak government for a new project. Webfactory will act as international information architects and design consultants, according to Bizplus.ie.
Under the terms of the agreement, Webfactory will work with the Slovak Economy Ministry via its agency, the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO).
Webfactory’s main role will be to steer the agency in the production of a number of new Web sites...


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Hungary profiting greatly from Slovak privatisation

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Slovakia’s moves to privatise remaining state-controlled enterprises is beneficial for Hungary, particularly its small- and medium-sized enterprises, Interfax quoted Tibor Varga, chief of Hungary’s ITDH trade office in Slovakia, as saying. ITDH is Hungary’s investment and trade development agency that is controlled by the Economy and Foreign Affairs Ministries.
Over recent months, sell-offs in Slovakia have been carried out at top speed. Many companies are slated for privatisation, namely in th...


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Russia, Jordan want diplomatic solution of Iraqi problem

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Russia and Jordan both advocate the earliest possible fair settlement of the Iraqi problem exclusively by political and diplomatic means, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told the press. “Such a settlement would guarantee the implementation of UN resolutions on Iraq, and lift sanctions mostly affecting civilians from that country,” Interfax quoted Yakovenko as saying. He stated that the Russian and Jordanian positions on the Iraqi problem are practically the same. On ...


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Tel Aviv, Moscow talk ties on high-tech markets

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Avenues for Russia-Israel cooperation on international high-technology markets were on the agenda for a visit by Kuti Mor, deputy director general of the Israeli Defence Ministry. The visit took place in early July. Mor visited Russia on July 1-4 at the invitation of the Russian Justice Ministry, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told a briefing. “Expert talks with Mor’s participation were also aimed at improving relations between Russia and Israel in light of the protection...


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Russia, Germany discuss chemical weapons recycling

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Russian Ammunition Agency Director General Zinovy Pak and Germany’s interim charge d’affaires Kraus Reinhart discussed the problems of recycling Russia’s stockpiles of chemical weapons. “The German government was the first to voice support for the resolutions of the G8 summit in Canada and begin a detailed consideration of this issue,” Pak said. “The German government is disbursing funds to German companies that will manufacture high technology lab equipment and control devices and supply them t...


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Russians think relations with US still tense

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Nearly two-thirds of the over 1,400 Russians polled by the monitoring.ru group at the end of June believe that despite an understanding reached between Russia and the United States in recent years, there is still tension in their relations. While 27 percent believe there is no tension, 9 percent were undecided. As many as 70 percent of people in the 18-24 age group, 77 percent of businessmen, 56 percent of managers of various levels and 64 percent of university educated people think that tension...


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Activists seek to rename Kaliningrad

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A group of activists from Kaliningrad have started collecting votes in support of an appeal for returning the city to its historical name - Koenigsberg. The action will last for two years. “The purpose of this public action is to clearly state and let the city authorities understand that some of the city’s residents have a clear position as regards the name of Kaliningrad-Koenigsberg, that they are prepared to defend it, and this must be reckoned with,” said the coordinator of the Civil Initiati...


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Moscow reaffirms intent to boost ties with Iran

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Russia will continue to expand ties with Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told a briefing on July 9. “We intend to develop ties with Iran on a mutually advantageous and pragmatic basis,” Interfax quoted Yakovenko as saying.
Russia is not the only country broadening ties with Iran, he said. “Its turnover with European states has been consistently on the rise. (Iran) is a large country that plays an important role on a regional level,” he added.
When asked about US complaint...


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Council argues economic conditions of national security

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A session of the Russian Security Council held in the Kremlin on July 8 dealt with economic conditions for ensuring Russia’s economic security. Russian President Vladimir Putin “set tasks on establishing threats and risks in the economic sphere and on finding mechanisms for overcoming them,” Interfax quoted Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo as saying.
Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref noted that this issue is complicated. “Problems that were discussed are...


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Japan not to limit contacts to islands dispute

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A senior Japanese official said that Japan would not limit its contacts with Russia to the old Japanese-Russian dispute over the four islands annexed by the Soviet Union during World War II. “I would like to emphasise that we are not hooked on the territorial problem, but intend to develop relations in all fields - cultural, social, political and economic,” Izvestia quoted the Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Russia department, Toyehisa Kozuki, in an interview on July 8.
A meeting between Rus...


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Putin: France should maintain positive stance on Kaliningrad

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Russian President Vladimir Putin told visiting French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin in the Moscow on July 8 that he hoped Paris would maintain “a constructive position” regarding the future of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.
The French foreign minister was accompanied by Minister of Education Luc Ferry and Claudie Haignere, minister of research and new technologies and the first French woman in space.
Putin has “clearly and definitely” stated that the Russian leadership will not leave t...


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Kasyanov mulls automobile sector development concept

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Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is considering a draft concept for the Russian automobile sector’s development, Kasyanov’s press secretary Tatyana Razbash told journalists. “Prime Minister Kasyanov is considering the concept,” Razbash said. He will probably decide on the concept in the near future, she added. Asked about import duties on foreign-made cars more than seven years old, government spokesman Alexei Gorshkov replied that the prime minister has not changed his mind. Kasyanov “ma...


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Ruspromavto, Fiat work on feasibility study

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RusPromAvto and Fiat are drawing up a feasibility study for implementing a cooperation agreement to 2007 that the Russian automobile holding company signed with Fiat truck division Iveco in April. Ways to jointly develop the companies will be mapped out by December, Interfax quoted Pavel Yakovlev, the head of RusPromAvto’s big truck division, as telling a news conference in Miass. If the companies do not reach an agreement, including on the amount of investment, the cooperation agreement will be...


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Volkswagen H1 sales up 28%

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German carmaker Volkswagen increased automobile sales through its dealer network in Russia 28.4 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2002. A source in the company’s office in Moscow said that in January-June 2002 the company sold 3,983 Volkswagen automobiles through its official dealer network in Russia, compared with 3,102 in the same period last year. Car sales amounted to 3,600 vehicles compared with 2,819 vehicles in the first half of 2001. In addition to cars, Volkswagen also sells min...


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Ford at Vsevolozhsk plant

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The Ford Motor Company has launched serial production of cars at its plant in the Leningrad region town of Vsevolozhsk, Ford’s public relations manager in Russia Oksana Khartonyuk said. However, she did not say when the first serial Ford Focus models would roll off the assembly line. The company plans to assemble 8,400 Ford Focus cars at the plant in the first year following the launch of serial production. The base price for the Ford Focus, a hatchback with a 1.6-litre engine, that will be reco...


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Aeroflot reduces losses by half in January-March

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Russian flag carrier Aeroflot reported a net loss of 600 million rubles for the first quarter of 2002, down 52 percent from 1.269 billion rubles in the same period last year, Interfax reported. Sales in the quarter rose 16.7 percent to 8.343 billion rubles, while costs dropped 2.4 percent to 7.34 billion rubles, the airline said in a report submitted to the Federal Securities Commission.
The airline posted an operating loss of 60.1 million rubles in the quarter, compared to a loss of 1.113 bill...


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Tyumenaviatrans carries 50% more passengers

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Tyumenaviatrans, an airline based in Russia’s northern Khanty-Mansii autonomous district, carried 527,293 passengers in the first five months of 2002, up 49.4 percent from 352,840 in the same period last year. The company said that this included 401,840 passengers carried on transportation routes, and 125,453 passengers carried by the airline’s helicopter fleet, up from respectively 302,474 and 50,366 in the first five months of 2001.
The airline flew 20,343 hours on transportation routes in th...


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USD 29.9 mln to Volga-Dnepr for plane development

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Russian airline Volga-Dnepr (Ulyanovsk) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have signed an agreement to grant the Russian company a credit of USD 29.9 million. The credit is being granted for 10 years to complete the construction of an An-124-100 plane at the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk.
The total investment being provided for Volga-Dnepr consists of an IFC credit of USD 16.9 million and a syndicated credit of USD 13 million, with participation from the Dutch financial development c...


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Tu-154 most used airliner, more often involved in accidents

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The Tupolev 154 airliner is the core of the civilian aircraft fleets of Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States countries, and therefore more often figures in air incidents and crashes than other plane models. Aviation experts said the Tu-154, which has been flying since the beginning of the 1970s, is a fairly reliable aircraft and most accidents occur due to the human factor....


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SUAL TO consolidate assets into new holding

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The SUAL group, Russia’s second largest aluminium producer, plans to bring all of its companies together into a new vertically integrated holding company by the end of 2003 with the aim of launching an IPO, SUAL spokesman Aleksei Goncharov said. “This should be a vertically integrated company representing the full production cycle, from mining raw materials to production of primary aluminium and itss processing,” Goncharov said. “As soon as SUAL creates such a holding, tentatively called SUAL In...


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Severstal to boost exports to China

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Severstal, one of Russia’s biggest steel mills, said it plans to increase exports to China by 30 percent. Officials from Severstal Export GmbH, the company’s foreign trading arm, signed a new one-year partnership deal with China’s Minmet during a visit to China. The Chinese company will receive a total of 450,000-480,000 tonnes of metal per year. The shipments cover all types of metal produced by Severstal. When signing the deal, which entered into effect on July 1, understandings were reached o...


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Palladium market revival

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The burden of reviving the world palladium market, which is so volatile and unpredictable at the moment, rests with Russia and South Africa, the world’s biggest producers of the metal. “Constant price fluctuations have made the palladium market illiquid and volatile,” Norilsk Nickel Mining and Metals Company Deputy CEO Maksim Finsky said. “To all intents and purposes the spot market is dead, and as little as 1,000 ounces of metal can bring it down in a flash,” Finsky told reporters. “As long as ...


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OMK to bid for Sakhalin-2 deals

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Russian pipe producers intend to bid in tenders for the right to supply pipes for the second phase of the Sakhalin-2 hydrocarbons project. Svetlana Vigdof, deputy public relations chief at United Metallurgical Company (OMK), said the company’s pipe mills would definitely be bidding. OMK is now being audited in preparation, Vigdof said. Bids will be made specifically by OMK’s Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Mill and the Vyksa Metallurgical Plant. Vigdof recalled that the Vyksa works had already won a te...


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Russia may stop buying corn and soy from US

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Russian First Deputy Agricultural Minister Sergei Dankvert said his country might stop importing corn and soy from the United States. This is linked to divergent approaches towards genetically-modified products in Russian and US law, Interfax quoted him as saying....


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Ministry approves sale of Vena stock to BBH

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Russia’s Antitrust Ministry has given the green light for the sale of 49.95 percent of the stock in St Petersburg-based brewery Vena to the Scandinavian concern Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), Interfax quoted Vena sources as saying. This decision is contained in a letter the ministry sent Vena on June 24.
On November 30 last year, BBH became the owner of 49.95 percent of the stock in Vena, having acquired it from Danish brewing giant Carlsberg. Until then, Carlsberg had held 99.9 percent of the...


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Ostapets says juice market could develop faster

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The rate at which Russia’s market for juice, fruit drinks and nectars is growing could speed up, Russian Juice Producers Union President Valery Ostapets told a press conference in Moscow. “Russia’s juice market is one of the most rapidly growing in the world, and it is possible it could grow more than 25 percent over last year by the end of the current year,” Interfax quoted him as saying. This particular market accounted for 1.2 billion litres of product last year.
Ostapets noted that Russia’...


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Ships carrying US poultry need new certificate after August 1

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Russia will not be accepting vessels carrying poultry from the United States under the old veterinary certificate after August 1. “The Russian veterinary service directs attention to the fact that starting August 1, 2002, ships carrying poultry meat from the US will be allowed to unload in Russia only if they have in their possession the new type of veterinary certificate,” Interfax quoted a statement issued by the Agriculture Ministry’s veterinary department as saying.
Ships carrying the old v...


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Russian per capita GDP put at 18% of US

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Russia’s per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity amounts to 18 percent of the GDP of the United States, the State Statistics Committee, citing a comparison of the GDP of Russia and other countries based on 1999 data.
In 1996 Russian per capita GDP amounted to 24 percent to that of the United States. The drop in this figure is due equally to two factors: the dramatic change in the structure of Russian GDP due to the increase in the proportion of net exports in GDP from four percent to 17...


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Consumer price inflation reaches 0.5% in June

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Consumer price inflation in Russia slowed to 0.5 percent in June from 1.7 percent in May, 1.2 percent in April, 1.1 percent in March, 1.2 percent in February and 3.1 percent in January, Interfax reported, citing data from the state statistics committee. Inflation slowed to 9.0 percent in the first half of 2002 from 12.7 percent in the same period of 2001. Average daily inflation in June slowed by two-thirds to 0.018 percent from 0.054 percent in the previous month and 0.054 percent in June 2001....


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New law on competition in commodities market at hand

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Russian Antitrust Minister Ilya Yuzhanov said a new law on competition on the commodities markets will be passed within a year. “The existing law was passed in 1991 and a large number of amendments have been made in the recent past. However, it noticeably lags behind the international level,” Interfax quoted him as saying. Ukraine has outpaced Russian in this area, having passed a law on the protection of economic competition, which is more in line with European norms, Yuzhanov said.
“The passi...


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Signing of Kuwait, Moldova labour deal

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Up to 10,000 Moldavians will be offered jobs in Kuwait under a labour agreement set to be signed by the two countries, AP quoted the Moldavian government as saying. Moldova’s Migration Minister Tudor Olaru negotiated a labour agreement with the Kuwaiti Deputy Justice Minister, Abdel Al-Fatah, who visited the tiny former Soviet state recently. It was not immediately clear when the deal would be signed. “Kuwait is mainly interested in doctors, nurses, construction workers and land improvement work...


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