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    GOOD MORNING,

    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Wednesday, January 28, 2004.

    MOSCOW

    * This is the last day the Central Election Commission is accepting public signatures in support of federal presidential nominees. The acceptance finishes, 6 p.m. Alexander Veshnyakov, commission president, will address a news briefing on the end of accepting election papers to register presidential candidates.

    * Jan Egeland, United Nations Undersecretary General for humanitarian affairs and UN coordinator for international cooperation, attends a roundtable on "Humanitarian Aspects of Crisis Settlement: North Caucasian Aid Programmes".

    * Federico Trillo, Spain's Minister of Defence, arrived in Moscow on an official visit, January 27. Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Defence, will meet him at the negotiation table.

    * Einar Steensnaes, Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy, is expected to Moscow to discuss Russian-Norwegian oil and gas partnership. He will meet in conference with Igor Yusufov, Russia's Energy Minister, Hermann Gref, Minister of Economic Development and Trade; and Petr Sadovnik, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources.

    * The Federation Council, parliament's upper house, is having a 118th session. It will discuss initiatives to implement the federal law on this year's federal budget. The house will blueprint for its spring session measures to implement a programme for monitoring the legal environment and administration of the law. The agenda includes other organisational matters, as well. Galina Karelova, federal Deputy Prime Minister, will address the house during its Government Hour to tell about practical work with underage persons.

    * RIA Novosti hosts a news conference by Vladimir Lukin, East-West Bridges foundation president and co-chairman of the political party, YABLOKO, on prospects of Russo-US relations in the context of a current visit to Russia by Colin Powell, US Secretary of State.

    * Victor Ilukhin of the Communist Party Central Committee, leader of the public Movement in Support of the Army, and second in charge of the security committee at the State Duma, parliament's lower house, addresses a news conference on "What's On in the Left Wing-a Split or a Confrontation of Personalities?" * The Russian office of the European Commission and the European Business Club hold a joint conference on developing Russian transport strategies and mortgage reform.

    * The foundation, Unity for Russia's Sake, holds a roundtable on "How to Obtain a Cultivated Elite?" to bring together top-notch Russian political scientists and sociologists. Vladimir Yegorov, Rector President of the Russian Academy of Civil Service under the Russian President, will address the gathering.

    * The Russian State Library introduces to the public the world's first English-language collected works by Alexander Pushkin, in 15 volumes.

    STRASBOURG, FRANCE

    * The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, or PACE, is holding session. Mikhail Marghelov, PACE Vice-President, will conduct the session in the Russian language on an unprecedented arrangement. The session will analyse the Cypriot issue. President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia is arriving to Strasbourg for the day, and is expected to address the session.

    MINSK

    * Sergei Frank, Russia's Minister of Transport, is arriving in the Belarussian capital on a routine visit. He will meet with Mikhail Borovoi, the host country's Minister of Transport and Communications, to discuss a number of projects for the development of Russian and Belarussian transport and respective infrastructures this and next year.

    RIA Novosti holds a full copyright for all its published materials. Upon any republication of RIA Novosti materials reference to RIA Novosti is mandatory.

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