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    December 21 morning preview

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    MOSCOW

    * Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with his Macedonian counterpart, Ilinka Mitreva.

    * Russian President's economy advisor Andrei Illarionov will give a news conference on the economic results of 2005 (1:00 p.m.).

    * The Natural Resources Ministry will host a nationwide session on the results of the 2005 activities of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Natural Resources and the 2006 goals (10:00 a.m.).

    * An extended final session of the board of Russian Railways (RZD), the country's railroad monopoly, will be held (2:00 p.m.). RZD President Vladimir Yakunin, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and Transportation Minister Igor Levitin will attend.

    * A session of the State Duma will be held (10:00 a.m.). The lower chamber will consider measures to prevent pollution of the Amur River after an explosion at a petrochemical plant in China, amendments to the Tax Code, the law "On the Special Economic Zone in the Kaliningrad Region," etc.

    * RIA Novosti will host:

    - a roundtable on the demographic growth policy (11:00 a.m.);

    - a news conference with President of the Russian Football Union Vitaly Mutko on the 2005 results and tasks for 2006 (2:00 p.m.).

    * Interfax news agency will host the following news conferences:

    - with Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev on the results of the ministry's work in 2005 and plans for 2006 (11:00 a.m.);

    - with ecologists from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund on the prevention of an ecological catastrophe on the Amur River (12:30 p.m.).

    * The Russian Association for International Cooperation will hold a session dedicated to its 80th anniversary (4:00 p.m.). The association will summarize its work in 2005 and discuss plans for 2006-2008.

    BAIKONUR

    * A Progress-M55 cargo spacecraft will be launched to be docked with the International Space Station (9:38 p.m. Moscow time).

    SARANSK

    * The first cable TV network in Mordovia, a republic in central Russia, will be launched. Information Technologies and Mass Communications Minister Leonid Reiman and Culture and Mass Communication Minister Alexander Sokolov will attend the ceremony.

    KAMBARKA, UDMURTIA

    * A test launch of Russia's second chemical weapons disposal facility will take place.

    CRIMEA, UKRAINE

    * Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin will arrive in the Crimea, a Black Sea autonomy, on a routine visit. He will discuss the development of the bilateral inter-regional cooperation with local authorities and meet with commanders of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

    MINSK

    * A delegation of the Russian Armed Forces will visit Belarus (December 21-22).

    VIENNA

    * Preliminary talks between the "EU troika" (Britain, France, and Germany) and Iran on the Iranian nuclear issue will open.

    UNITED NATIONS

    * UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will give a news conference on the year's results.

    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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