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    MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Emergencies Ministry believes it is time to streamline the nation's civil defense system.

    This topic will dominate the agenda of a national conference that has just opened in Moscow. Speaking at the opening ceremony Thursday, Yuri Vorobyov, Deputy to the Russian Emergencies Minister, pointed out that threats such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, religious extremism, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are assuming global proportions. Risks arising from large-scale natural and man-caused calamities are also on the increase, he added.

    In Mr. Vorobyov's view, these new circumstances make it extremely important to work out new approaches and solutions to the problems of civil defense. Russia has done a substantial amount of work in this area in recent years, he noted. A federal target program to streamline this country's civil defense system is now being put together, he reported.

    The deputy minister stressed the need for clear-cut, concrete notions on what the civil defense system should look and be like in today's environment. He believes that the system should be renovated by enriching the best of Russia's past experience with fresh ideas and perspectives.

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