Moscow will host the 13th Russia-EU summit today. Despite the fact that this will be the first summit after the EU's enlargement, the sides have promised to avoid sensations, special statements or signed documents, Izvestia reports. There are reportedly no obvious differences in relations. However, one sensational document - the bilateral agreement on Russia's accession to the WTO - is to be signed in Moscow.
The 13th Russia-EU summit may fail to justify its unfortunate number - the sides intend to sum up the progress since the previous Rome session in the working regime (negotiations followed by business breakfast) and discuss plans for the future. To this end, Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, EU Commissioners Pascal Lamy and Chris Patten, and also Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Foreign Minister Brian Cowen (Ireland currently holds the rotating chair of the EU).
Izvestia's sources are not predicting any sensations. The EU's enlargement has not affected relations negatively. They have conversely stood the test well. "The summit should be as specific, working and businesslike as possible," Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the Russian president's special representative for relations with the EU, argues. European colleagues seem to agree with him, Izvestia says.
Mikhail Fradkov's government now has a new and final line-up, Gazeta reports. The prime minister has been empowered to change the cabinet's structure independently. Vladimir Putin has decided not to torment the ministers with uncertainty. On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Fradkov forwarded a new cabinet structure to the President, and by Thursday morning, before the beginning of another cabinet session, the structure and key appointments had already been carried out. "All those present have retained their posts," said the prime minister.
The premier and Dmitry Kozak, who is in charge of introducing the new cabinet structure, have fulfilled their promise and corrected the mistakes of the previous government reform. Supervisory departments have been abolished in some ministries, because the administrative reform initially envisaged that supervisory and law-enforcing functions be clearly separated to avoid clashes of interests.
The prime minister's new authority means that he can now complete the government structure on his own. The presidential decree of March 9 divided the cabinet into three levels: ministries, services and agencies. Each of them should have their own functions: ministries should work out laws, services should supervise and offer services, and agencies should manage property, Gazeta reports.
Next week, Tbilisi expects the arrival of almost the entire Russian business elite: on May 27-29, it will host the first Georgian-Russian conference on joint business development. According to NG sources in the Georgian State Chancellery, key figures of the Russian economy will participate in the conference. They will discuss Russian companies' opportunities to participate in the privatisation of Adzharian facilities - structures of the Batumi port, local resorts and hotels, and the agrarian sector of the autonomy.
According to NG, the Tbilisi conference will apparently focus on Adzharia's economic development. Last Wednesday's visiting session of the Georgian government in Batumi decided to form an investment and consultative council soon to attract investment in the autonomy. According to Mamuka Khazaradze, president of a major Georgian bank, TVS, it is important to clearly outline the rules of the game for both Georgian and foreign businessmen right at the start of Adzharia's economic restoration, NG writes.
Russian experts have found a way to extend the service life of Progress cargo spacecraft - they will be used as autonomous labs, VN reports. So far, ISS cosmonauts loaded mothballed Progress spacecraft with waste, and then experts on Earth brought them down to some remote area in the Pacific, thereby preparing room for another cargo spacecraft. Now the undocked spacecraft will be placed into an orbit parallel to the ISS for unique physics experiments.
Chief spokesman for Mission Control Valery Lyndin said in his comments on the upcoming experiment that the first experiment was due next week. On May 24, the Progress now in orbit will be undocked from the ISS and spend about ten days in free-flight operation. During this period, efforts will be made to guide the spacecraft in a mode to reduce any overload to the minimum and provide maximal illumination for solar power units.
About 200 high-rise buildings are to be constructed in Moscow before 2015, Kommersant quotes Alexander Kuzmin, chief architect of Moscow, as saying at the city construction council. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has already recommended to the Department for Construction policy, City Development and Reconstruction to study foreign experience of skyscrapers' construction as soon as possible. Currently, five 30-storey buildings are being constructed in the capital within the New Ring of Moscow programme, and project documents have been prepared for 40 tall buildings.
According to Mr Kuzmin, the majority of skyscrapers will be built in the north and south of Moscow and will not clash with the architecture of the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and other architectural landmarks of the city.