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    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Tuesday, March 2, 2004.

    MOSCOW

    * Russia's acting Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov will hold talks with Portuguese National Defence Minister Paulo Portas, staying in Russia on an official visit.

    * Russia's acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will hold talks with Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds. She will deliver the report Sweden and Russia in the Changing Europe at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

    * In the Russian Justice Ministry, the press conference will be held The Conditions of Keeping the Condemned, Suspects and Accused of Committing Crimes in the Institutions of the Penitentiaries System of the Russian Justice Ministry.

    * A press conference of candidate for election to the post of the Russian president Irina Khakamada titled Formation of the Democratic Opposition Towards the 2008 Election will be held.

    * A press conference of candidate for the post of the Russian president Oleg Malyshkin and the State Duma vice-speaker, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovski will be held.

    * The presidium of the national public organisation Business Russia will gather for a session. It is planned to discuss development of the organisation and a package of anticorruption measures prepared by the Business Russia experts. The session will be attended by acting Vice-Premier Boris Aleshin, representatives of the Kremlin administration.

    * The 6th assembly of the Russian business circles Women, Leaders of a New Russia. Social Responsibility of Business will open.

    * The 3rd international conference New Possibilities and Markets for the Export of Oil and Gas from Russia and Countries of the Caspian region will begin.

    * The press conference Russian Gas Supplies to Russian and Foreign Consumers will begin at the OAO Gazprom.

    * The analytic centre Expert will house the conference How Russian Corporations Pay Taxes.

    * The 2nd Interreligious Peace-Keeping Forum of the CIS Countries will open. It will be attended by spiritual leaders and representatives of the traditional religions of Russia and countries of the CIS, as well as state, scientific and public figures.

    * In the Central Scientists' House of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a press conference on the start of the international research trans-Arctic expedition The Polar Ring will be held.

    ST.PETERSBURG

    * During his visit to St.Petersburg, President of the Republic of Malta Guido de Marco will meet with governor Valentina Matvienko, who will award him with the medal In Memory of the 300th Birthday of St.Petersburg. On the same day, Guido de Marco will be awarded the title of the Honorary Doctor of the St.Petersburg State University, where the Maltese president will deliver a lecture on the small countries' role in the integration processes in Europe.

    * SARATOV

    * The 3rd international scientific-practical conference Problems of Opposing the Traffic of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances will be held.

    * GOMEL /BELARUS/

    * A two-day sitting of the commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russia-Belarus Union on Ecology, Use of Natural Resources, Elimination of Effects of Accidents will begin.

    * GENEVA

    * A regular round of bilateral talks on Russia's joining the World Trade Organisation (March 2 through 5) will begin.

    Upon any republication of RIA Novosti materials reference to RIA Novosti is mandatory.

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