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    GOOD MORNING,

    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Friday, March 12, 2004.

    MOSCOW

    * The Central Election Commission hosts a public inauguration of the Election 2004 information centre, Alexander Veshnyakov, commission chairman, attending.

    * Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe observers are arriving in Moscow for an upcoming Russian presidential poll. Germany's Rudolf Bindig is leading the nine PACE delegates, who represent nine Council of Europe countries. They will monitor the election in team with OSCE observers.

    * RIA Novosti will host the following news conferences:

    - "Election 2004: Public Monitoring vs. Administrative Efforts". Public figures and spokesmen of opposition candidates' election HQs will introduce OUR VOTE, a national project for public ballot and vote count monitoring. Taking part are Sergei Kara-Murza, Iana Dubeikovskaya, Sergei Ivanenko, Pavel Voschanov, Alexander Prokhanov, and promoters of presidential hopefuls Sergei Glazyev, Irina Hakamada and Nikolai Kharitonov;

    - presidential hopeful Irina Hakamada on, "Summing Up a Pre-Election Campaign: A Democratic Poll or Arbitrary Action? The Establishment of a New Democratic Opposition Party";

    - "Situations Analysis: Russia to Make Its Choice". Addressing the conference are Yevgeny Yassin, Liberal Mission foundation president and research supervisor of the Higher School of Economics state university; Georgi Satarov, Indem foundation president; and Lilia Shevtsova, senior researcher, For International Peace Carnegie Peace Endowment.

    * President Hotel is hosting a 19th session of the CIS Economic Council, at a deputy prime-ministerial level. Prominent on the agenda will be initiatives to gradually abolish mutual trade restrictions in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and anti-monopoly cooperation fields.

    * Igor Artemyev, Federal Anti-Monopoly Service head, addresses a news conference on, "Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service: Prospects of Activities".

    * Gennadi Fadeyev, Russian Railways public company president, addresses a news conference to focus on summing up company achievements for the six months since its registration.

    * The Federation Council, parliament's upper house, is hosting a maiden decoration ceremony as Russia is re-instating a 19th century medal, For Good Works. The gala is held on the initiative of, and has been organised by the New Epoch's Children international foundation and the Federation Council commission for youth affairs and sports.

    * The UES board of directors will hold session.

    * Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, awards the prize, For an Outstanding Contribution to the Unity Cause of Orthodox Christian Nations, to Professor Helene Carrere d'Encosse, l'Academie Francaise Permanent Secretary, in a St. Daniel's Monastery gala.

    KHANTY-MANSIISK

    * The Fire Spirit international festival of cinematic debuts is opening, to last into March 17.

    MINSK

    * The council of Central Bank presidents of EURASEC (Eurasian Economic Community) member states holds its 9th session.

    YEREVAN

    * President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia is starting an official visit to Armenia, March 12-13.

    ANKARA

    * A Ukrainian parliamentary delegation is coming on an official visit to Turkey, March 12-13. Leading the delegation is parliament Speaker Vladimir Litvin.

    TALLINN/VILNIUS

    * Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary General, is finishing a visit to Estonia, to go on to Lithuania for a one-day 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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