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    GOOD MORNING,

    The Russian Information Agency Novosti begins Hotline coverage for Wednesday, April 7, 2004.

    MOSCOW

    * Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary General, is starting a routine visit to Russia, to last into April 8.

    * Muhamed Tsikanov, Russia's Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, addresses a news conference on "Issues of Forest Private Holding", on the ministerial premises.

    * The Moscow branch of United Russia political party, is holding its 5th conference. The conferees intend to discuss the returns of recent elections at many levels.

    * The Moscow City Court is expected to announce its verdict on the case of Igor Sutyagin, researcher suspected of high treason.

    * The 5th international research conference, "Competitiveness and Economic Modernisation", is going on at the State University/Higher School of Economics.

    * The World Bank Russian office is arranging a news conference on the public introduction of an Economic Memorandum for the Russian Federation.

    * Yegor Gaidar, Director of the research Institute of Transition Period Economics, addresses a news conference, "Russian Social and Economic Development: Summing-Up and Forecasts".

    * RIA Novosti is hosting the following news conferences:

    - on World Health Day, April 7. This year's Day is dedicated to traffic accidents and their prevention;

    - Mikhail Lapshin, Russian Agrarian Party president, on "The Situation in the Russian Agrarian Party: For its Report-Back Election Congress";

    - "The Information and Marketing Strategies of the Russian Football Union".

    * The charitable Foundation in Support of Russian Science holds a gala to award its prizes on nominations: "Outstanding Researchers. Candidates and Doctors on the Russian Academy of Sciences Staff" and "The Best Economists of the Russian Academy of Sciences".

    * Organisers of the 15th national and 11th international Cinetaur film festivals, due in Sochi, June 1-25, address a news conference.

    * The Bolshoi Theatre holds a news conference on company plans for its 229th season.

    * The Russian Culture Foundation holds a roundtable on, "Legal Protection of Intellectual Property for Russian Folk Arts and Crafts".

    ST. PETERSBURG

    * A delegation of Chechnya's republican State Council, led by Hussain Isayev, State Council president, is arriving in St. Petersburg.

    * A 13th international automobile show, Automotive World 2004, is opening. The most popular car show in Russia's northwest, it has gathered more than 250 Russian and overseas corporate exhibitors.

    * A 6th international Russian-language theatre festival of CIS countries and the post-Soviet Baltics, Meetings in Russia, is opening.

    SALEKHARD

    * An Arctic Ring international trans-Arctic expedition is taking start. The explorers will make a first-ever journey round the world along the Arctic Ocean water-edge via the North Pole. They will ride Toros low-pressure tires cross-country vehicles of Russian design and manufacture. The venture has gathered twelve brave men of several Russian cities and Belarus.

    MINSK

    * The CIS united air defence system will have a command and staff exercise in Belarus. The system brings together Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

    KIEV

    * The Ukrainian capital hosts a 4th international research and practical conference, "Streamlining CIS Countries' Team Efforts against Organised Crime, Terrorism, Drug Trafficking and Other Contemporary Threats and Challenges".

    BAKU

    * A maiden Azeri-Russian economic forum is underway. The bilateral intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation is having its 10th session within the forum framework.

    WASHINGTON

    * Sergei Stepashin, president of Russia's Auditing Chamber, addresses the media to sum up his visit to the USA and contribution to the work of a transnational group against money laundering.

    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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