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    GOOD MORNING,

    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Thursday, February 5, 2004.

    MOSCOW

    * President Ilkham Aliev of Azerbaijan is arriving in Russia on an official visit, February 5 into 7, following President Vladimir Putin's invitation. The two Presidents will meet at the negotiation table. A bilateral package is expected for signing during the visit.

    * Launched Wednesday, February 4, Russo-Belarussian intergovernmental negotiations will go on for partnership in the fuel-and-energy complex. Victor Khristenko, Deputy Prime Minister, is representing Russia; Vladimir Semashko, First Deputy Prime Minister, Belarus.

    * Police Major-General Yunash, second in charge of the Federal Migration Service under the Ministry of the Interior, addresses a news briefing on the ministerial premises, concerning refugee return to Chechnya from other parts of Russia.

    * The Council of the State Duma, parliament's lower house, is gathering for session.

    * RIA Novosti is hosting a news conference, "On the Inadmissibility of Using Dirty Technologies and Administrative Barriers in a Presidential Election". Addressing the conference is Sergei Glazyev, federal presidential candidate and Rodina parliamentary group leader.

    * The Meschansky district court will announce a verdict on the case of Vassili Shakhnovsky, former head of Yukos-Moscow Co. The federal Prosecutor General's office charges him with paper forgeries and tax evasion involving exorbitant sums.

    ST. PETERSBURG

    * A 6th Cardiostim international Slav congress is opening. It has gathered an approximate 800 medical experts from Russia, other CIS countries, the post-Soviet Baltics, Western Europe and the USA. The congress will debate a wide range of issues of the latest arrhythmia studies. Dominating the agenda will be diagnosing and treatment of infantile arrhythmia and cardiac conductance disturbances.

    RIGA

    * Latvia's parliament will debate amendments of the Education Law in their third, and final reading. The day decides the fate of secondary school tuition in ethnic minorities' native languages. In particular, the amendments concern Russian-language schools in Latvia.

    GENEVA

    * An ad hoc team for prospective Russian membership of the World Trade Organisation will hold session.

    BERLIN

    * A 54th Berlinale international film festival will open, to last into February 15.

    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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