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    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Monday, March 1, 2004.


    * Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds arrives in Moscow for a 2-day visit. Her talks with Russian acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov are scheduled on March 2.

    * The Assembly of Russia's Peoples will hold the third congress at the All-Russian Exhibition Center in northeastern Moscow. The event is mottoed "The Multiethnic Potential of Russia's Peoples Promises Prosperity and Unity to the Country."

    * A news conference will take place devoted to the results of measures to prevent and block illegal activities in the sphere of intellectual property (which are part of the Counterfeit 2004 operation).

    * Russia's Federal Energy Commission board will hold a meeting to assess its performance in 2003 and outline objectives for 2004-2006 for bodies overseeing the natural monopolies.

    * A ceremony of presenting the Ipotechny (Mortgage) Bank, a joint project of Troika Dialogue investment company and Rosgosstrakh insurance company, will take place within a press conference.

    * A news conference devoted to the upcoming world track and field athletics championship will take place.


    * An international environmental forum, Preserve Planet Earth, will be held on March 1 through 5. The event will involve scholars from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Baltic republics, Japan and the United States. An international scientific conference and a fifth All-Russian scientific practical conference will be held as part of the forum.


    * Novosibirsk's court will open a second hearing on the case of regional chief forensic pathologist Vladimir Novosyolov, who is charged with smuggling human bodies to Germany. He was acquitted at the first hearing.


    * The 38th music festival "Mertsishor-2004" will open on March 1 to last into March 10. It will involve classical, light and folk music performers from 15 countries, including Russia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, the USA, Ukraine and others.


    * Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev will arrive in Kazakhstan on a 2-day official visit.

    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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