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    GOOD MORNING,

    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Wednesday, March 3, 2004.

    MOSCOW

    * The Russian Constitutional Court will hand down its ruling on the Cultural Autonomy Law clause that limits the number of ethnic autonomies allowed within a Federation member state to just one. The plaintiffs claim that this clause infringes upon their constitutional right to form associations.

    * A session of the Russian Transportation Ministry board will review the sector's work last year and set tasks for this year. Acting Transportation Minister Sergei Frank is to deliver a keynote speech.

    * Acting Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi of Russia and German Ambassador Hans Friedrich von Ploetz will hold a joint press conference on the Culture Ministry's premises to highlight the opening of German Culture Year in this country.

    * The Russian Agency for Conventional Armaments will hold a board session to sum up last year's performance and set tasks for 2004.

    * The State Duma, or parliament's lower house, will deliberate on a number of bills at a routine session.

    * A national energy forum, "Russia's Fuel & Energy Sector in the 21st Century," will open in Moscow's Kremlin Palace.

    * The Central House of Journalists will house a panel discussion on the following topic: "New Russian Premier: Prospects of Settling EU-Russia Economic Differences; Dependency of Russia's Economic Stability on the World Currency Market." The panelists will include Nikolai Shmelev, Director of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences; Arkady Maslennikov, President of the Center for Banks and Crediting Policy; and Alexander Shokhin, President of the Higher School of Economics.

    * A press conference will be held in Moscow to preview the 10th Golden Mask national theater festival.

    * A Cinema Production Service exhibit, opening at the International Trade Center, will show off today's capabilities of the national movie industry.

    * Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of the FIDE, the world's governing body for chess, will appear before reporters to sum up the results of a recent session of the FIDE Presidential Council and to tell about a world championship in Libya.

    MINSK

    * The CIS Economic Court will hold a plenary session to consider amendments to an agreement on its status and the hand-over of some of the EurAsEC Court's functions to it (the acronym EurAsEC stands for the Eurasian Economic Council, an alliance of several CIS member states). Attending the session will be the heads of the supreme economic courts of nations that are parties to the aforementioned agreement, as well as CIS Executive Committee Chair Yuri Yarov and EurAsEC Secretary General Grigory Rapota.

    ULAN BATOR

    * Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo, currently on an official visit to Mongolia, will meet for talks with the host country's President, Natsagiin Vagabandi, as well as with its Prime Minister and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense. The agenda is expected to be dominated by issues of regional and global security.

    PARIS

    * Acting Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov of Russia will set out to France for a working visit. On Wednesday, he will have talks with his French counterpart, Ms. Michele Alliot-Marie, in St.-Jean-de-Luz, on the country's southwestern coast. Ivanov and Alliot-Marie will then move on to Paris, where more Franco-Russian talks are scheduled for Friday, between the ministers of defense and of foreign affairs.

    MADRID

    * Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will begin a two-day routine visit to Spain. He is to address a gathering of business leaders at the Institute of Entrepreneurship and to have talks with his Spanish counterpart, Ana Palacio.

    LONDON

    * A conference entitled "European Energy Partnership: Russian Vector" will be held in the British capital Wednesday. Its organizers include the Russian Oil & Gas Industry Workers Union and the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce.

    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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