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    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Thursday, March 4, 2004.


    * Alexander Veshnyakov, in charge of the federal Central Election Commission, is addressing a news conference, "Ten Days Before Presidential Election".

    * The federal Press Ministry hosts a news conference on the Russian Books show and trade fair, to open, March 10, at the All-Russia Exposition Centre in Moscow's northeast.

    * The Federation Council, parliament's upper house, has the following events scheduled for the day:

    - a roundtable on, "State Regulation of Natural Monopolies and Tariff Policies in the Russian Fuel-and-Energy Complex". The event is part of a 2nd national energy forum, The Russian Fuel-and-Energy Complex in the 21st Century.

    - Vice-Speaker Alexander Torshin holds conference with Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, head of the Muslim Board for European Russia.

    * The State Duma, parliament's lower house, hosts the following:

    - a roundtable on the draft federal bill, "On Russian Federal Measures to Prevent Violations of Essential Rights and Freedoms of Russian Nationals and Ethnic Russians in Latvia", and the draft federal bill, "On Humanitarian Assistance to Russian Nationals and Ethnic Russians in Latvia with Massive Violations of Human Rights and the Rights of the Russian Nation in That Country". Arranging the event is the Duma committee for CIS affairs and contacts with ethnic Russians abroad.

    * The Komsomolskaya Pravda publishing centre offers a news conference on, "Interethnic Strife in Russia: How to Combat It?" Taking part are Vladimir Zorin, acting Minister of Nationalities Policies; Alexander Chekalin, Deputy Interior Minister and Federal Migration Service president; and Valeri Tishkov, Director, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology under the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    * A news conference is convened on, "Coercive Labour in Contemporary Russia: Illegal Migrations and Slave Traffic".

    * A banking summit is gathering on, "Russian Banking System: Developmental Prospects in the Context of Forthcoming Russian Membership of the World Trade Organisation".

    * The National Stock Association is arranging a news conference on its prospective joining the International Securities Market Association. The event also concerns the problems of Russian stock market integration into the world.

    * The French Embassy is arranging a news conference, "European Higher Educational Reform: French Experience". Spokesmen of eight French-based universities will describe their efforts to implement the Bologna process, which Russia intends to join.

    * The Moscow State Lomonosov University is hosting a conference as part of Russia Year in Kazakhstan: "Eurasianism at the Turn of a Millennium: Trends and Prospects". The conference is timed to a 10th anniversary of President Nursultan Nazarbayev's initiative to establish a Eurasian market.


    * Victor Filippov, Russia's acting Education Minister, will attend an international congress, "The Russian Language in the CIS Community".


    * Igor Ivanov, Russia's acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, currently on a routine visit to Spain, meets at the negotiation table with Ana Palacio, Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Ivanov arrives in France on a two-day routine visit, the same day. March 5, he will take part in a session of the Franco-Russian Security Cooperation Council.


    * A roundtable, "Russia Before a Presidential Election" will gather Russian and German journalists and political experts.

    * The German-Russian Forum holds an annual meeting.

    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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