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    Russian Press - Behind the Headlines, March 10

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    Russian steel baron Vladimir Lisin ranks 14th on Forbes list \ Butyrka prison gets hi-tech makeover \ Hepatitis: A fashionable disease expensive to treat

    RBC Daily
    Russian steel baron Vladimir Lisin ranks 14th on Forbes list

    Forbes magazine crowns steel baron Vladimir Lisin, Russia's richest man, followed by Alexei Mordashov and Mikhail Prokhorov.
    Forbes magazine’s annual global ranking of billionaires set two records this year: the number of billionaires grew to 1,210 and their total net worth to $4.5 trillion. Of this year’s 214 newcomers, 108 were from BRIC countries. The number of Chinese billionaires on the Forbes list doubled to 115; the number of Russians grew to 101, Indians to 55 and Brazilians to 30.

    Moscow ousted New York as the city that is home to the greatest number of billionaires with 79, compared with New York’s 58.
    Analysts believe Russia’s progress in this area is due to rising crude oil and metals prices. The Reuters Jefferies CRB commodities index rose 17% last year and by another 8% in the first two months of 2011. Oil is confidently set above the $100/bbl mark. Wealthy people in India and China saw their fortunes grow along with the general economic boom in those countries, while in Brazil, the number of billionaires grew due to the policy of tight financial regulation.

    The number of U.S. billionaires rose from 403 to 413.

    Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim predictably retained his position as the world’s richest person for a second year running, with estimated assets of $74 billion, up $20.5 billion from the previous ranking due to successful investments. Stock in his America Movil SAB, the biggest mobile-phone company in the Americas, jumped 62%, sending his net worth far beyond that of his main rivals Microsoft head Bill Gates ($56 billion) and Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. ($50 billion). Their fortunes grew by a meager $3 million each. However, analysts believe that Gates would have still been the world’s richest person had he not spent $28 billion on charity.

    Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corp, have also made it into the Forbes top five this year.

    Vladimir Lisin, chairman of the Novolipetsk Steel board, took 14th place this year with an estimated net worth of $24 billion, up from 32nd ($15.8 billion) last year. Alexei Mordashov, CEO of another Russian steel giant, Severstal, was ranked 29th with $18.5 billion and Mikhail Prokhorov, co-owner of gold miner Polyus and investment bank Renaissance Capital, came 32nd with $18 billion.

    Other Russian billionaires on the list include Vladimir Potanin, co-owner of Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel, Metalloinvest founder Alisher Usmanov, aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska, telecoms, retail and oil tycoon Mikhail Fridman, LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov, and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich, who also owns stakes in steel maker Evraz and Highland Gold Mining.

    Rossiiskaya Gazeta
    Butyrka prison gets hi-tech makeover

    The infamous remand prison Butyrka is embracing the information age: prisoners will have two-way audiovisual communications with prison officials.
    Yesterday, Butyrka Remand Prison No. 2 warden Sergei Telyatnikov gave Rossiiskaya Gazeta journalists a special tour of the prison. Butyrka is unique, but this serves as an example of how the Federal Penitentiary Service is introducing high standards across the board in prisons.

    Prisoners enter Butyrka through massive 240-year-old oak doors, but behind them lies a completely different world, that of a 21st century prison – large bright corridors, walls painted in warm colors, spacious waiting rooms. A psychologist starts working with the detainees as soon as they arrive. After all, detainees, particularly those in jail for the first time, are under stress. Incidentally, they may not have even committed the crime for which they were arrested.

    Around 70,000 people per year are released from remand prisons. Some are exonerated in court. Some have their cases closed. Many receive non-prison sentences. So it cannot be assumed that all these people deserve to be in prison. Why cripple them mentally and physically once they’ve ended up there?

    Screening newcomers is like checking passengers at the airport – detainees put their belongings on a conveyor and pass through a door frame. All detainees undergo a physical examination, with mandatory electrocardiograms for those over 35.

    There are currently about 1,850 prisoners in Butyrka, and the number is constantly changing. Conditions are not cramped: the facility has a capacity of 2,120 prisoners. Therefore, the prison's new cells usually have regular beds, not bunks.

    Detainees in Butyrka are watched closely. The facility currently has 250 CCTV cameras, 46 of them positioned on the perimeter. Others are installed in the prison corridors. There is a special observation point in the prison duty room, from which you can see almost everything that is happening in the prison. A four-person shift pattern ensures that the monitors are always manned, and that each prison guard gets a 15 minute break every 45 minutes to keep their eyes from glazing over.

    In the long term, video links will be installed in each cell, so every prisoner will be directly under surveillance day and night. The cells will also be kitted out for two-way communication with the guard posts. If the prison guard sees something impermissible, he can immediately give the command to stop: he can communicate face-to-face with prisoners without entering the cell.

    Prisoners will also be able to page prison officials. They will not have to knock on the door, as they did years ago, or press a special button, as was the case more recently. Pressing the button switched a hallway light on so the prison guard could see that someone in a specific cell had paged him. Whether or not he went over to them was another matter. These built-in video links will greatly simplify communication.

    Moskovsky Komsomolets
    Hepatitis: A fashionable disease expensive to treat

    Despite the mass inoculation campaign launched several years ago, the incidence of chronic hepatitis B and C continues to grow. Patients often remain symptomless for many years, and although it is certainly a serious disease, hepatitis is far from the killer it is widely believed to be. Yet doctors are certain that hepatitis-related fears are often cultivated deliberately in private medical centers to pump more money out of their patients.
    Many still believe that hepatitis is a disease that hits only socially disadvantaged sections of the population, drug addicts or people with multiple sexual partners. This is a major misconception. Moscow’s only Hepatology Center, based at Infectious Diseases Hospital No.1, has patients from all walks of life. They include young mothers, children and the elderly.

    No one is safe from this disease: it can be caught through sexual contact, at a dentist’s or a hairdresser’s. Compared with HIV, the hepatitis B virus is 100 times more infectious.

    The illness may show no signs for years and is often discovered accidentally, when testing potential blood donors, future mothers or patients before an operation. 

    However, every type of viral hepatitis can be successfully treated.

    “Today we have highly effective anti-viral drugs, but it should be understood that the treatment is grueling and not appropriate in every case,” says Natalya Blokhina, deputy head physician at Clinical Hospital of Infectious Diseases No.1. “The approach must be tailored to each individual patient, taking account of many factors – their age, other medical conditions, lifestyle and the extent of liver damage. Sometimes hepatitis should not be treated at all, for example if the patient is elderly, suffers from many other illnesses and hepatitis is not causing major symptoms. In such cases, treatment would only harm the patient and worsen his or her condition.”

    Recently, however, Hepatology Center doctors have increasingly been seeing unnecessary treatments of the disease. Hepatitis has become a “fashionable” disease among the medical profession. A multitude of private medical centers have sprung up in Moscow, whose doctors charge steep fees for the treatment, which they insist the patient needs even before they conduct an in-depth examination. The terrified patients often rush off to sell their property in order to buy costly medicines and pay the medical fees. Yet viral hepatitis is often not such a serious condition bound to lead to liver cirrhosis, undermine the patient’s health or shorten his or her life.

    The doctors at the Hepatology Center believe that treatment of socially transmitted diseases such as hepatitis B and C must be conducted only at specialized state-run clinics. No one, however, knows how to stop the private medical centers from charging a fortune for unprofessional medical advice. The best guide in such cases is the patient’s own common sense.

    RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.

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