Mining, metallurgy problems, prospects to be discussed in Astana.

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan, July 4 (Itar-Tass) — Problems of current concern and prospects for the development of mining and metallurgy are to be discussed at the second international mining-and-metallurgical congress that opens here on Monday.

The congress has drawn chiefs of state bodies, top managers of transnational companies and representatives of stock exchanges, rating and auditing agencies, and experts from 25 countries that are the leaders on the mining and metallurgical market.

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev is expected to declare the forum’s plenary session open.

Congress organizers say that among the speakers and guests of honour at the forum will be such persons as Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Vice-Premier Aset Isekeshev,Timur Kulibayev, director of the national wellbeing foundation Samruk-Kazyna, Xavier Rolet, chief of the London Stock Exchange Group, Lawrence Fok, chief marketing officer of the Hong Kong London Exchange Group Ltd, Norbert Justin, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan, Andreas Beier, managing director of the ThyssenKrupp Metallurgie, Chris Welton, Australian-British Rio Tinto Company’s director of geological prospecting in Central Asia, and many other prominent figures.

Russia is represented at the congress by Oleg Soskovets, Chairman of the Association of Financial and Industrial Groups of the Russian Federation.

First-day discussions will deal with state regulation of the mining and metallurgical sector, innovations, research efforts, and the problems of restoring the activity of metal markets. Those present are expected to exchange opinions about demand for metals forecast for the coming decade, risks of the sector, and new forms of attracting financing.

An exhibition will be arranged within the framework of the congress with the participation of about 90 companies from Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Ukraine, Belarus, Turkey, Japan, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. The exhibition will feature the latest achievements in such sectors as goldmining, innovation technologies for the mining and metallurgical industry, education and service segments. More than 1,000 specialists of the sector are expected to visit the exhibition.

A number of roundtable meetings are to be held on the second day of the congress. Those present at roundtable discussions will examine interaction between sectoral associations and the State, the training of industry personnel, as well as prospects for the mining and metallurgical industry of Kazakhstan. A number of mutually beneficial memorandums and contracts are expected to be signed at the forum.

According to Albert Rau, First Vice-Minister for Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan, the Congress which first met in 2010, has developed into “a corporate dialogue floor, at which a package of business investment proposals getss formed”. “There must be an internat synergy between users of subsoil resources, the processing sector, and Kazakhstani science which affords a sufficiently high potential for contributing to the development of metallurgy and to attaining the goals that the sector is faced with,” Rau pointed out.

.Metallurgy is among Kazakhstan’s key industries – Nazarbayev.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Kazakhstan is set to completely overhaul its industry, which will help create tens of thousands of new jobs, including in the metallurgical sector, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in a greeting message to participants in the second international mining and metallurgical congress. The message was read out on Monday by Prime Minister Karim Masimov.

Over the 20 years of its independence, Kazakhstan has considered metallurgy as “one key industries of the Kazakh economy.” The industry demonstrates high development dynamics. “Currently, the industry accounts for more than seven percent of GDP, about 17 percent of the overall industrial output, and 20 percent of exports,” the message said.

The Kazakh president drew attention to the fact that the country has launched a state program to encourage more rapid industrial and innovation development. The program provides for more funds to be spent on prospecting works.

In his speech, Prime Minister Karim Masimov paid special attention to boosting competitive edge of the country’s mining and metallurgical industry. “We clearly understand that new investments into the sector are capital-intensive and long-term steps associated with high risks, but we must and we shall seek to boost its competitive edge,” he stressed.

.Vnesheconombank CEO to chair board of directors of United Aircraft Corp.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The chairman of one of Russia’s biggest banks, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Vladimir Dmitriyev, is likely to chair the board of directors of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), a source on the UAC board of directors told Itar-Tass on Monday.

Previously, the board was chaired by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who had to step down after President Dmitry Medvedev’s initiatives to remove top-ranking state officials from boards of directors in private companies.

An UAC annual shareholder meeting approved the new board of directors, but for its chairman, on June 30.

The joint-stock company United Aircraft Corporation was incorporated under a Russian presidential degree of February 20, 2006. The company incorporates all Russia’s aircraft manufacturers. UAC top priority areas of activity include the design, production, sales, warranty and post-warranty service, modernization, overhaul and disposal of aircraft of civilian and military use. The corporation’s authorized capital stands at 188.63 billion roubles. The Russian government holds a 81.75-percent stake in the corporation.

The corporation incorporates the following companies: Aviation Holding Company Sukhoi, Irkut Corporation, Joint-Stock Company Tupolev, Aviastar-SP, Ilyushin Aviation Complex, Voronezh Aircraft Joint-stock Company, Ilyushin Finance Co, Kazan Gorbunov Aviation Production Association, Komsomolsk-on Amur Gagarin Aircraft Production Association, Nizhny Novgorod Aircraft-building Plant Sokol, Novosibirsk Chkalov Aircraft Production Association, UAC – Transport Aircraft, Sukhoi Design Bureau Company, Yakovlev Design Bureau, Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, Taganrogskaya Aviatsiya Public Joint-Stock Co , Joint Stock Company Beriev Aircraft, Finance Leasing Company, and Myasishchev Design Bureau.

.EU ambassador says export duties on raw materials hamper Kazakhstan WTO entry.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The issue of export duties is a key obstacle in talks on Kazakhstan’s accession of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the head of the European Union delegation to Kazakhstan, Norbert Jousten said on Monday.

The European Union insists that Kazakhstan brings down to zero its export duties on raw materials, including agricultural materials. It is a key condition for it to be allowed to WTO, Jousten said at the second international mining and metallurgical congress in Astana.

According to the EU ambassador, the signing of a bilateral agreement between the European Union and Kazakhstan on its entry to the WTO proceeds as scheduled. Currently, the issue of export duties is a key obstacle for the agreement to be signed. In his words, the sides are currently specifying a list of provisions that would limit export duties on certain types of raw materials that are supplied to the European market. “We want to reduce these export duties to zero,” he said.

According to Jousten, a total of 48 percent of Kazakhstan’s exports go to the European Union, as compared with 15 percent in 2000.

.AvtoVAZ Lada sales in Russia up by over 30%.

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SAMARA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s car manufacturer AvtoVAZ sold over 291,500 Lada cars in January-June, up by 31.3 percent as against the same period of last year, the company’s press service said on Monday.

In June the car maker sold 55,000 cars in Russia, up by 7 percent as against the same period of last year and up by 6.1 percent as against May 2011.

Lada Kalina sedan tops the list of sales. Since the beginning of the year 72,600 cars were sold, up by 80 percent as against the first six months of last year.

In June AvtoVAZ exported 3,800 Lada cars and in January-June – 24,000 cars.

.90% of essential medicines to be produced in Russia by 2015.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) — Most of essential medicines will be manufactured in Russia by 2015, Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko told a forum of the All-Russian Popular Front on Monday.

During four years Russia’s pharmaceutical companies had to occupy almost 40 percent of the market of medicines sold in the country.

The minister underlined that by 2015 it is necessary “to ensure the production of 90 percent of essential and strategic medicines in Russia.”

The Industry Ministry cooperates with the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies realizing that the production cycle of medicines is a time and effort consuming process.

“By 2020 we plan to ensure parity in the import and domestic production of medicines,” Khristenko said.

.Housing Development Foundation to help young scientists buy house.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Housing Development Foundation and Sberbank are developing a project of special mortgage loans for young scientists, the Foundation’s president, Alexander Braverman, briefed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Under the project young researchers under 35 years of age, who have work experience of 5 years in the Russian Academy of Sciences in such science intensive sectors as biotechnologies and IT will get an opportunity to buy a house.

“We’ve provided a 153.2 hectare land plot in Novosibirsk for the pilot project. A housing cooperative will be created there,” Braverman said.

He recalled that the State Duma has already adopted in the first reading a law on cooperatives allowing to give a free land plot for young scientists and build necessary infrastructure.

“This reduces the housing costs by 25-35 percent,” he said.

Putin instructed the Foundation together with the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending and banks to develop the relevant proposal.

.Got tightens responsibility of oil companies for oil spills.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian government has submitted a bill to the State Duma on Monday which tightens responsibility of oil companies for oil spills, a source from the State Duma told Itar-Tass.

The suggested amendments to the bill ” On Continental Shelf of the Russian Federation” and other related bills aim to lower a negative effect produced on the environment in the event of oil spills or spills of oil products, says a document attached to the bill submitted to the Duma.

The government suggested obliging organizations that deal with oil development and transportation be responsible for prevention of oil spills and liquidation of after-effects of oil spills. If this initiative put forward by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources is approved any company, engaged in the use of artificial islands, constructions and facilities or in drilling operations for purposes of geological research, oil prospecting, development, transportation and storage of oil products on the continental shelf of the Russian Federation, shall adopt a plan for prevention and liquidation of after- effects of the above mentioned catastrophes.

These amendments were suggested, taking into account the experience accumulated in the practice of prevention of oil spills and spills of oil products, and also for purposes of liquidation of the existing administrative barriers, the authors of the bill said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had declared at a meeting of the government Presidium with reference to an environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico last year that ” it was necessary to tighten requirements and responsibilities of enterprises engaged in oil prospecting and development of oil shelf and specify all the details and technical nuance so that nothing of the kind should ever happen again.”

The only companies authorized to work on the continental shelf and in sea areas should be provided with the necessary technologies, be staffed with competent experts and have the necessary funds and reserves to prevent oil spills; in the event of a force- major situation they should be able to take all the necessary measures for prevention and liquidation of after-effects of oil spills and reimburse the inflicted damages to the environment and bio- resources in full volume, Putin said. These additional guarantees are quite justified, Putin stressed.

.Kazakhstan to launch 204 industrial projects in 2011.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— As many as 204 enterprises with overall investments of 730 billion tenges (about five billion U.S. dollars) will be commissioned in Kazakhstan in 2011 under the state program of accelerated industrial and innovation development. More than 25,000 new jobs will be created, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Monday.

“The industrialization map [the list of facilities that planned to be commissioned under the state accelerated development program] envisages the commissioning of 470 projects to a sum of eight trillion tenges (55 billion U.S. dollars),” he told an industrial and innovation forum in Astana.

“In 2010, the 152 enterprises commissioned under the program accounted for two out of seven percent of economic growth,” he noted. “This year, we hope for 2.6 percent, i.e. for a bigger contribution of the industrial sector to the economy.”

Nazarbayev called the program of accelerated development of the industrial sector a “most important state goal equalling state building and independence.”

“We cannot afford to just sit still pinning our hopes on the country’s mineral resources,” he stressed.

.6 new industrial enterprises commissioned in Kazakhstan.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— As many as six new industrial enterprises have been commissioned in Kazakhstan under the state program of accelerated industrial and innovation development, the country’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced on Monday.

“After reaching their rated capacity, the industrial projects that were launched today will give a fresh impetus to the country’s entire economy, to social well-being of our citizens,” he stressed.

Among these six projects was a carriage works in the Pavlodar region in Kazakhstan’s north that will increase its annual capacity from the current 500 to 2,500 freight railway cars. A SsangYong car assembly line was launched in the city of Kustonai, also in Kazakhstan’s north. By 2015, its output is expected to reach 7,500 cars. It is also planned to increase the share of domestically produced components.

A shaped pipe production facility was launched in the Alma Ata region in southern Kazakhstan. The facility will manufacture up to 10,000 tons of pipes a year, and will increase its annual output four-fold within two years.

A plant for the manufacture of naval metal structures was commissioned in the Mangistautksy region in western Kazakhstan. The plant will make 10,000 tons of such products a year.

Also on Monday, an automated greenhouse complex with an overall area of three hectares was launched in the Karaganda region, central Kazakhstan. It is designed to grow up to 1,700 tons of vegetables a year.

The state program of accelerated industrial and innovation development for 2010-2014 is aimed at diversifying Kazakhstan’s economy at boosting its competitive edge.

.Kazakhstan to increase funding for science to USD 2 bln by 2015.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Kazakhstan will increase funding for science to 1 percent of GDP by 2015 and will encourage private investments, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

“We will increase budget appropriations in research to 1 percent by 2015. I hope this will exceed 2 billion U.S. dollars, of which 60 percent will go into research, and RD, which never did before,” he said at an innovation and industrial forum titled “We Shall Build Strong Kazakhstan Together!” held in Astana on Monday, July 4.

At the same time, he stressed that business, too, should increase investments in research.

“Each enterprise should engage in research and support innovators,” the head of state said.

He also stressed the need to step up cooperation between science and industry.

This will require the creation of “a dynamic market of intellectual property”, he added.

“Kazakhstan should have a strong legislative framework for the work of innovators, and for effective legal protection of copyright and related rights. Our legislation should become an inalienable part of the international intellectual property system,” Nazarbayev said.

“This is the only way to build a channel for transferring foreign technologies. This is the only way to create conditions for increased innovative activities of our people,” the president said.

In his opinion, Kazakhstan is facing a super task of “becoming one of the innovation economies of the world” by 2020.

.Real incomes of Russians decrease by 5 % in May 2011 – statistics.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The real disposable monetary incomes of the Russian population, except compulsory payments, adjusted to the consumer price index, went down by 5.0 percent in May 2011, as compared to the same month of 2010, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service said in a regular report.

According to the statistics’ earlier reports, the real incomes of Russians decreased by 1.9 percent in the first five months of the year as compared to the same period of 2010.

“Proceeding from the analysis, the real disposable monetary incomes of Russians decreased by five percent in the fifth months of the year, and went down by 1.9 percent in January-May,” the statistics service said in its report.

In May 2011, the real wages of Russians went down by seven percent as against last May, and decreased by 10.4 percent as compared to April 2011.

The country’s average gross nominal monthly wages this May amounted to 22,520 roubles (USD 1 = RUB 27.80), which was 12.5 percent more than in the same month of 2010 and stood at the level reported in April 2011, the statistics service said.

According to the previous information published by the statistics service, in the month under review, real monthly incomes per capita of the Russian population amounted to 18,183 roubles, which was 3.2 percent more than in May 2010, but 9.1 percent smaller than in April 2011.

In addition, real wages of Russians increased by 2.6 percent in May 2011, as compared to the same month of 2010, but went down by 0.5 percent as against April 2011, the statistics service said in the report.

.Tourism priority sector of Armenia’s economy — Sargsyan.

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YEREVAN, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Tourism is “a priority sector” of the Armenian economy, and the leadership of the country attaches great significance to its development, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said.

“Armenia highly appreciates the role and importance of the World Tourism Organisation as a world centre of policy-making in the field of tourism and tourist activities,” the president said at a meeting with WTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai on Monday, July 4.

“It is obvious today that the tourist industry is assuming ever growing importance in the world economy and in the resolution of social problems as well as in the cultural and political spheres,” he said.

“Despite a more than 20 percent annual growth in the sector – slightly more in domestic tourism – tourism in Armenia has a much greater potential that needs to be tapped in full,” Sargsyan said.

Armenia has been a member of the WTO for about 15 years and their cooperation has a good future.

Sargsyan expressed confidence that Rifai’s visit would give a new boost to such cooperation.

Rifai gave Sargsyan an open letter from the WTO and the World Travel Tourism Council, which noted the economic, social and political importance of tourism.

“The development of tourism is one of the priorities for the government of Armenia,” Sargsyan said.

In his opinion, “It is important to use the experience and knowledge of the WTO for success”.

Rifai commended the efforts undertaken by the government of Armenia in recent years to develop tourism in the country.

He believes that prioritisation of tourism is the right decision and assured Sargsyan that his organisation would help Armenia develop tourism.

Sargsyan and Rifai discussed how to make tourism in Armenia more attractive, possible joint educational and training programmes, and the development of Armenia’s tourist brand.

.Moldova to step up agricultural exports to Russia.

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CHISINAU, July 4 (Itar-Tass) — Moldova hopes to increase the exports of its farm produce and foodstuffs to Russia, Agriculture Minister Vasile Bumacov said here Monday at a news conference upon the results of his visit to Moscow.

While in Moscow, the Russian officials and he signed a memorandum on cooperation.

Emphasis will be made on the exports of crop products.

“The export of fruit can be increased by a factor of three and the exports of vegetables and pork, by a factor of ten,” Bumacov said.

He mentioned the problems that Moldovan exporters ran into last year when the Russian sanitary authorities tapped the batches of produce of substandard quality.

This year, Moldova has invited Russian experts to monitor the quality of exported products, Bumacov said.

The minister also spoke in favor of improving the quality of packaging, which will be difficult to forge.

“Given the reputation of our products, any goods from Turkey are passed off as the Moldovan ones these days,” he said. “The problem is the customers are confident what they purchase is really produced in Moldova.”

Statistics shows that Moldovan exports to Russia mostly consist of apples /23.4%/, wines /19.2%/, preserves /9.1%/, and sugar /9.4%/.

.Russia’s minimum subsistence level at RUB 6,473 in Jan-Mar 2011.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s minimum subsistence level amounted to 6,473 roubles (USD 1 = RUB 27.80) per capita in the first three months of the current year, the Russian State Statistics Service said in its regular report.

In the period under review, the indicator went up by 9.7 percent as compared to October-December 2010, the statistics service said. In the past three months of 2010, the minimum subsistence level was set by the government at 5,902 roubles per capita across the country, according to earlier reports.

Under the document, the minimum subsistence level for Russia’s able-bodied population was at 6,986 roubles in the reporting period, while the minimum subsistence level for pensioners totalled 5,122 roubles and for children amounted to 6,265 roubles.

At the same time, Russia’s average cost of the minimal food basket increased by 10.6 percent in January-March 2011, the statistics service said, adding that prices of non-food goods went up by 3.5 percent, and prices of services grew by 11.0 percent.

.Khristenko says Russia to become Europe’s biggest car market by 2014.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia will become Europe’ s biggest market of cars within the next three years, Russian Minister of Trade and Industry Viktor Khristenko put forth such a forecast during Monday’s forum of the Russian Popular Front, devoted to the country’s budget policy.

The minister pointed to the stable upward dynamics of the car sales. In his words, the market soared by 32 percent in 2010. Besides, the growth made up 61 percent over the first five month of the current year.

“This year’s car sales will be at about 2.7 million units,” Khristenko said, stressing, “It is absolutely clear for us, we will become the leading and the biggest [car] market in Europe by 2014.”

Besides, the recent years’ growth of car sales has triggered the change of the market structure, the minister said.

In 2011, more than two-thirds of cars, which were sold in Russia, were manufactured inside the country, he said.

“The model line-up has been updated significantly,” the minister of industry and trade said, adding, “The biggest part of the models has been designed specifically for the Russian market.”

.Commissioning of new flats in Russia drops by 6% in May – statistics.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The commissioning of new houses in Russia decreased by 6.5 percent in May 2011, as compared to April, and stood at 2.9 million square metres, the Federal State Statistics Service said in a report.

In May 2011, state and private companies built 31,700 new flats, the statistics service said, adding that the total number of new flats was at 177,300 in January-May.

In the first five months of the year, private companies built 8.3 million square metres of dwelling houses, or 54.4 percent of the total account of new houses commissioned in the period under review.

In January-May, the volume of Russia’s housing construction went up by 0.8 percent, as compared to the same period in 2010, and amounted to 1,301.8 billion roubles (USD 1 = RUB 27.80), the statistics service said.

In May 2011, the indicator amounted to 330.2 billion roubles, which was 1.9 percent more than in the same month of 2010 and 5.1 percent more than in April 2011, the report said.

In January-May 2011, state and private companies built 177,300 new flats, the statistics service said.

In the period under review, 15.3 million square meters of dwelling houses were commissioned, which was 6.9 percent less than in the same months in 2010, the statistic report said.

.Kazakhstani-RF Ekibastuz-2 project to increase SDPP capacity by 50%.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The construction of the third power unit at the Ekibastuz State District Power Plant-2 (SDPP) has been started in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan. The project was launched on Monday by President Nursultan Nazarbayev during a special teleconference hook-up, which was organised between Astana and the construction site.

Experts are confident that the construction of the third power unit will make it possible to increase the Ekibastuz SDPP-2 generating capacity by 50 percent.

“Before the USSR breakup, we managed to build two power units out of planned eight ones,” Nazarbayev said. “Now, in compliance with my accord with the Russian president, we started the construction of the third power unit with a capacity of 500 megawatts.”

“Our construction projects and our industry cannot operate without electricity, Ekibastuz is the major generator of electricity in Kazakhstan,” he said, stressing, “This is really people’s construction project.”

“I am confident that you together with Russian companies will commission this important facility in proper time,” the Kazakhstani president told the organisers of the construction project.

“We are going to complete the project by the planned term to commission the facility in 2014,” representative of Russia’s Inter RAO UES Vladimir Alganov said.

“Joint work of Russian and Kazakhstani companies will make it possible to strengthen cooperation and will serve the interests of the two peoples,” he said.

The project aimed at the enhancement of the Ekibastuz SDPP-2, which is a part of the state program for the intensive industrial and innovative development, will make it possible to rise the power plant’s generating capacity from the current 1,000 megawatts to 1,500 megawatts.

Total investments in the construction of the third power unit are estimated at 113 billion tenges (774 million U.S. dollars).

For the financing of the project, the power plant’s administration, Russia’s Vnesheconombank (VEB) and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) signed a credit agreement on June 23, 2010.

On June 29, the National Savings Bank of Kazakhstan (Halyk Bank) joined the project as the third credit grantor.

Kazakhstan’s State-run company Samruk-Energo (controlled by the Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund) and Russia’s Inter RAO UES are owners of the power plant on the parity basis. Now, the SDPP generates about 12 percent of all electricity produced in Kazakhstan, while exporting a part of it to Russia.

The Ekibastuz State District Power Plant-2 is a coal-fuelled electricity generating facility in Kazakhstan’ s Pavlodar region. The SDPP-2, built in 1987, has installed capacity of 1,000 Megawatts and has the world’s tallest flue gas stack at high. The chimney is about taller than the Inco Superstack in Sudbury, Canada. Locals refer to it as ‘the Cigarette Lighter.” This chimney is the tallest chimney ever built.

The power station is the start of the electric transmission line to Kokchetau and uses a transmission voltage of 1,150 kilovolt, the highest transmission voltage in the world. The extension of this line to Elektrostal in Russia is also designed for 1,150 Kilovolt, but it currently operates at only 400 kilovolt. About three-fourths of the energy produced by the power plant is exported to Russia.

Fifty percent of the SDPP-2 shares are owned by Russia’ s Inter RAO UES and 50 percent by Kazakhstan’s government.

The planned capacity of 4,000 megawatts is to be provided by eight equal power units with the capacity of 500 megawatts each. The first power unit was commissioned in December 1990, the second one in December 1993. Construction of the third power unit was started in 1990 but later stopped.

.Russia’s unemployment rate stands at 6% in May 2011 – statistics.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s unemployment rate, which is calculated as the ratio of the total number of jobless people to the total number of able-bodied population, was at 6.4 percent in May 2011, the Federal State Statistics Service said in a report, drafted on the basis of a sample survey of the country’s population, which was held in the second week of May 2011.

Besides, Russia’s employed rate (that is calculated as the ratio of the total number of employed persons to the total number of able-bodied population) amounted to 64 percent in May 2011, the report said.

In the period under review, the total number of Russia’ s able-bodied population aged between 15 and 72 years (both employed and jobless) amounted to 75.9 million people, or about 53 percent of the total Russian population, the statistics said.

In May 2011, the total number of employed persons increased by 0.4 percent (or 266,000 people) as compared to May 2010, while the total number of jobless Russians went down by 11.2 percent (620,000 people), the state service said.

The total number of unemployed persons in Russia, counted under standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO), is 3.2 times more than the country’s official unemployment rate, the report said, adding that the indicator was at 1.515 million at the end of May 2011.

Among the jobless persons counted under the ILO standards, the share of women amounted to 47.2 percent, while the share of urban population was at 62.2 percent. Besides, the rural unemployment rate was 1.8 times more than the indicator for the urban population.

Under the survey, the average age of unemployed persons was at 35.6 years in May 2011. The total share of young people below 25 year-old among the jobless persons was at 26.1 percent, the statistics said.

In the group aged 15 to 24, the unemployment rate was at 15.2 percent, including 13.1 percent among the urban population and 19.9 percent among the rural population, the report said.

Among the jobless people, 27.2 percent accounted for the persons, who remained unemployed no longer than three months; 32.1 percent of those under survey are searching for new job more than a year. Among the latter part of the population, the share of villagers is 33 percent and the share of urban Russians is 31.5 percent, the statistics service’s report said.

In May 2011, 26.8 percent accounted for the persons, who were out of experience. In the period under review, their number amounted to 1.3 million people. Among the latter category of jobless persons, 17.5 percent accounted for young people below 20 years, 46.5 percent for peoples aged between 20 and 24, and 20.4 percent for persons aged between 25 and 29 years.

The share of employees in Russia, who lost their jobs due to a dismissal, reduction in force, dissolution of an organisation or business – amounted to 21.5 percent, while the share of unemployed people who lost their jobs due to his/her own volition – totalled 23.7 percent.

The lowest unemployment rate (under the ILO standards) was in the Central Federal District, while the biggest level was in the North Caucasus district.

.Moscow’s housing construction more intensive than in 2010.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— More than 830,000 square metres of new flats were built in Moscow in the first half of the current years, which exceeds the last year’s indicator 814,000 square metres, Moscow’s Deputy Mayor for Construction Marat Khusnullin said during City Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s visit to one of the housing construction facilities located in Moscow’s western district.

At the same time, the construction schedule was worked out so that the major commissioning of new houses is planned for October-December 2011, the deputy mayor said.

“According to the program, 2.5 million square metres of houses will be built this year in the city,” Khusnullin said, adding, “Construction of 671,000 square metres of new flats of the above-mentioned plan will be financed from the budget.”

Sobyanin, in turn, urged to observe more attentively for the commissioning deadline. “In the first three months of the year, we considered a significant delay in the commissioning of both commercial and public houses,” he said.

“It is evidently that the new flat commissioning schedule is not the key criterion. The main thing is to commission flats of good quality,” the city mayor said.

He reaffirmed that Moscow’s program of housing construction envisages a social component, which is aimed at the granting of new flats to the persons included in the waiting list for the affordable houses and re-settlers from old flats.

Based on this, it is necessary to keep the schedule, independently on good it or bad, Sobyanin said.

.Nazarbayev hopes for 3% GDP growth in 2011 owing to new facilities.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev hopes for a 2.6-percent growth of the Gross Domestic Product in 2011, owing to the commission of new facilities.

Two percent out of seven percent of the country’s economic growth in 2010 was guaranteed by the commissioning of 152 new facilities, the president said at the Industrial and Innovation Forum in Astana on Monday.

“In 2011, we hope for a 2.6-percent growth,” he stressed.

Nazarbayev is confident that it is the best time for the creation of new facilities in the republic and development of new business projects.

In the format of the Industrial and Innovation Forum, the president launched the project aimed at the expansion and upgrading of the Ekibastuz State District Power Plant-2 (SDPP) in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan.

“Before the USSR breakup, we managed to build two power units out of planned eight ones,” Nazarbayev said during a special teleconference hook-up, which was organised between Astana and the construction site.

“Now, in compliance with my accord with the Russian president, we started the construction of the third power unit with a capacity of 500 megawatts,” he said.

“Our construction projects and our industry cannot operate without electricity, Ekibastuz is the major generator of electricity in Kazakhstan,” Nazarbayev said, stressing, “This is really people’s construction project.”

“I am confident that you together with Russian companies will commission this important facility in proper time,” the Kazakhstani president told the organisers of the construction project.

Total investments in the construction of the third power unit are estimated at 113 billion tenges (774 million U.S. dollars).

For the financing of the project, the power plant’s administration, Russia’s Vnesheconombank (VEB) and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) signed a credit agreement on June 23, 2010.

On June 29, the National Savings Bank of Kazakhstan (Halyk Bank) joined the project as the third credit grantor.

.Total number of officially registered jobless Russians drops by 3% on June 15-29.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The total number of officially registered jobless people in Russia decreased by 2.8 percent (or 41,934 persons) over two weeks from June 15 to June 29, an official at the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development said in a regular report on Monday.

According to the ministry’s official, “the total number of officially registered jobless persons in Russia stood at 1.4 million as of June 29, 2011.”

“In the period from June 15 to June 29, the total number of jobless Russians went down by 2.8 percent to total 1,445,641 people as of June 29, 2011,” the ministry’s report said.

In the reporting period, the officially registered unemployment rate decreased in 80 regions of Russia, the official said, adding that the maximum decline in the unemployment rate was reported from the Republic of North Ossetia – Alania, and the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area.

At the same time, three Russian regions reported a hike in the officially registered unemployment rate, the ministry’s representative said, adding that the increase of the index was reported from the Amur region, and the republics of Mordovia and Kalmykia.

This year’s first decline of the country’s official unemployment rate was registered by the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development at the end of March.

“We registered this year’s first decrease of the indicator by 0.3 percent,” Minister Tatyana Golikova said back then. As of the beginning of the month, Russia’s total official unemployment rate amounted to 2.2 percent of the country’s able-bodied population.

“According to preliminary estimates, the favourable scenario of the crisis overcoming envisages that an average number of officially registered jobless Russians will be at about 1.7 million in 2011, and will not exceed 1.8 million people by the end of the year,” the minister said.

The unemployment rate is calculated as the ratio of the total number of jobless people to the total number of able-bodied population.

The ministry’s monitoring is based on official information about dismissals, received from more than 83,088 Russian organizations and companies in all regions of the country.

.Kazakhstan, Slovakia to set up joint venture for lead ore mining.

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ASTANA, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Kazakhstan and Slovakia will set up a joint venture for mining lead ore at the Alaigyr deposit in the Karaganda region, Central Kazakhstan, which is believed to contain 50 million tonnes of ore.

Kazakhstan’s ore mining company Rau-Ken Samruk (controlled by the Samruk-Kazyna national welfare fund) and Slovakia’s Radington Industrial Consulting s.r.o. signed a memorandum of cooperation at the Second International Mining and Metallurgical Congress in Astana on Monday, July 4.

“The sides will hire mainly Kazakhstani companies as contractors at all stages, including exploration, designing, construction and operation, attract European investments and modern technologies for production and processing of mineral resources,” a report released after the signing of the memorandum said.

The two companies will set up a joint venture for the project on a parity basis. According to Tau-Ken Samruk Head Bolat Svyatov, the project will need about 50 million U.S. dollars worth of investments.

The project envisions the construction of a lead ore processing plant with a capacity of one million tonnes of ore a year.

According to Radington Industrial Consulting s.r.o., lead ore production may begin in 2014.

.FAS says Ru-Centre broke law during RF domain name registration.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s biggest domain registrar RU-Centre was proclaimed to have broken the competition law during open registration of domain names in the new “.RF” Internet zone in November 2010, according to the Federal Antimonopoly Service’s decision made after a long investigation.

The FAS ordered Ru-Centre to transfer the unlawfully-obtained income in the amount of more than 239 million roubles to the federal budget.

Ru-Centre refused to make any comments. It happened to be in the centre of a scandal at the end of last year and was accused by the National Domain Coordination Centre of cybersquatting.

The company registered 60,000 “nicest” names in its own name and then decided to auction 25,000 of them. The company earlier estimated its income from the registration of domain names at 366 million roubles.

Ru-Centre Director Alexei Lesnikov said this amount had been put on hold until the end of the investigation. He does not rule out that this money may be used for charitable purposes.

Lesnikov said earlier that the auctioned domain names in the “.RF” zone would not be deleted.

The fate of almost 24,000 domain names was in limbo after the National Domain Coordination Centre and a special expert commission had proclaimed the registrar’s actions cybersquatting and demanded that the domains be returned to their legitimate owners.

“It is impossible to delete domain names because they are already being used by their owners, and this will destabilise the situation. The law has not been violated. Everything was done under customer agreements, and therefore there will certainly be no deletion,” Lesnikov said.

He said that the auctions had been not prohibited by the rules of registration in the first “.RF” domain zone, even though it was not allowed either.

The Coordination Centre’s board plans to work out a solution by March 1. RU-Centre also intends to put forth its proposals. In particular, it suggests lifting the bans on the change of administrator and registration of domains by non-residents that are in effect until November 11, 2011.

Domains already auctioned were initially registered by RU-Centre in its own name, which means that they cannot be transferred to their legitimate owners for the time being. The latter are using them on the terms of “possession”- a service specially created by RU-Centre. “If these restrictions are lifted, the question of domain possession will be resolved automatically,” Lesnikov said.

Problems related to the registration of domain names in the first Cyrillic zone also drew the attention of the expert group under the interagency working group for combating economic crimes, which includes officials from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the presidential administration, the Department for Overseeing the Enforcement of Economic Legislation, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Ministry of Mass Communications, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), the Federal Tax Service, and the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring.

Coordination Centre Director Andrei Kolesnikov said, “Any decision to be made by the Coordination Centre will seek to ensure the rights of the users that are no responsible for the registrar’s actions. The board and the administration of the Coordination Centre have enough powers to solve these issues. The government, for its part, deals with violations of legislation. So it’s a normal working process.”

Registration of public domain names in the “.RF” zone started on November 11, 2010. In the first week, more than 500,000 domain names were registered. Up to date, their number has exceeded 750,000.

The Coordination Centre for TLD .RU set up a crisis hotline for persons experiencing problems with registration of “.RF” domain names in order to help the users whose domain names purchased at auctions were suspended.

In late November 2010, the Coordination Centre had to suspend all domain names of Russia’s biggest registrar Ru-Centre, which had been put up for auctioning. The company says there are 24,000 such domain names.

The Coordination Centre said such auctions ran counter to the rule, according to which a domain name goes to the one was the first to apply for it.

“No operations can be made with these domain names, they cannot be delegated or altered until their real owner is identified,” Kolesnikov said.

His measures were supported by the Ministry of Mass Communications.

Ru-Centre said the sanctions were unlawful and planned to challenge them in court. Although domain names were suspended, the company sent letters to their owners, in which it had placed all responsibility for the situation on the Coordination Centre.

“In order to cope with the tide of appeals, we had to set up a hotline,” the Coordination Centre said. Persons who have been affected by this situation are advised to send letters to or leave a message at the website.

“The Coordination Centre will help clarify the situation,” its management said.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service began an investigation.

The registrars of domains in the “.RF” zone accused by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of collusion can lose accreditation and the domain names they registered can be annulled, Kolesnikov said.

On November 19, 2010, the FAS started proceedings against six registrars, including Ru-Centre, charging them with coordinated activities.

According to Kolesnikov, they are suspected of having purchased quotas for domain registration from other registrars. For example, RU-Centre registered more than 70,000 domain names “all by itself” on the first day of public registration and another 40,000 names under purchased quotas.

“Registration in its own name does not run counter to the rules, but Ru-Centre registered domain names in its own name on a priority basis and only then did it register other domain names,” Kolesnikov said.

In addition, some registrars held internal auctions for the most attractive domain names, which runs counter to the “first application” rule. The registrars say they did so in order to protect “nice names” from cyber squatters, but their arguments do not stand up to criticism.

As an example, Kolesnikov named the “prostitutki.RF” domain name that was auctioned for 190,000 U.S. dollars. “What public benefits are we talking about in this case?” he asked.

The Coordination Centre said it would use sanctions ranging from warnings to registrars to the annulment of their accreditation.

“In addition, all of the domain names registered in their names can be suspended, at least until the end of the investigation,” Kolesnikov said.

.All terms of Beltransgas purchase agreed – Gazprom CEO.

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MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) —— All terms of the deal to purchase 50 percent of Beltransgaz were approved during a telephone conversation between Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko on Monday, July 4.

“Unfortunately, the Belarusian side continue to link the signing of documents on Beltrangaz to the terms of a new contract for gas supplies to Belarus. In our opinion, this can only delay the negotiations but make no essential changes,” Miler said, adding that the effective contracts could not be changed until the end of 2011.

In late 2006, Gazprom and Beltrangaz signed a contract for the supply and transit of natural gas in 2007-2011. The document determine the pricing formula from January 1, 2008 – identical to the pricing formula used for gas supplies to Europe – and price reducing coefficients for 2008-2010 (0.67, 0.8 and 0.9 respectively), Gazprom said.

Gazprom acquired 50 percent of Beltransgaz shares into ownership on March 3, 2010.

. Putin to chair meeting on high technologies in Dubna.

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MOSCOW, July 5 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will chair a conference of the governmental commission for high technologies and innovations on Tuesday. It will take place at the Unified Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna, the Russian government’s press service reports.

“The conference on development of scientific research infrastructure is planning to work out the basic approaches to the creation in this country of unique world-class research centres, the so-called Mega-Science class installations which will make it possible to reach new horizons in fundamental science,” the press release goes on to say.

The creation of this kind of infrastructure is the backlog of competitiveness of the Russian scientific complex and an opportunity to establish fruitful international cooperation in breakthrough areas of research.

At present, Russian scientists are taking part in implementing four such mega-projects: the Large Hadron Collider within the framework of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the creation of an ITER reactor in France as well as the development of a European free electron lasers and heavy ion accelerators in Germany. Besides, the Russian Academy of Science has received a number of proposals to join other international mega-projects, the press service goes on to say.

Over the past six years state budget allocations for Research and Development for civil purposes have gone up three times: about 230 billion roubles were appropriated for these purposes in 2011. About 40 billion roubles had been committed to support science in higher educational establishments and strengthen scientific schools in leading universities in a period until 2012. In 2010, a package of measures aimed at enhancing innovative activities in institutions of high learning was adopted in 2010.

A pilot project to create a national research centre was launched in 2010. The centre will unite the Moscow-based Kurchatov Institute, the St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics named after P. Konstantinov (Gatchina), the Institute of High Energy (the town of Protvino) and the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (Moscow).

The creation of the national research centre the Kurchatov Institute was the subject of a conference held by Putin on January 12, 2010, the press service reports.

.Hong Kong forum discusses Asian foreign investments in Russia.

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HONG KONG (XIANGANG), July 5 (Itar-Tass) — Participants in the Russia – Capital Raising and Investment Summit business forum on possibilities for attracting Asian capitals in Russia, which opened on Tuesday, mark big potentials of cooperation between Hong Kong and Russia in the investment sphere.

According to Russian Consul General Sergei Gritsai, more and more Russian companies open their missions in Hong Kong, including Renaissance Capital and Kaspersky Lab.

The diplomat noted that along with New York and London, Hong Kong is on the list of three leading global financial centres. “The experience of Hong Kong is useful in connection with plans to set up an international financial centre in Moscow,” he added.

The Hong Kong stock exchange can become “a financial bridge” for Russian companies interested in getting access to markets of mainland China and Asia, President of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. Ronald Arculli said.

The Russia – Capital Raising and Investment Summit is held in Hong Kong already for the second time. Representatives of financial and investment companies, 250 people all in all, take part in it.

One of the organizers of the forum, the publisher of the Asianinvestor magazine, Jonathan Hirst, told Tass that plans are to make this forum annual.

.Concept of strategy of Russia-Asia Pacific Reg coop due in autumn.

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KHABAROVSK, July 5 (Itar-Tass) — The concept of a draft project for the strategy of Russia’s cooperation with countries of the Asia-Pacific region and a forecast of the social and economic development of the Russian Far East till the year 2050 will be ready by autumn, Russian president’s envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Viktor Ishayev told reporters on Tuesday.

Ishayev stressed that the strategy and the forecast will be presented to the heads of state at the APEC forum which Vladivostok hosts in 2012.

According to the envoy, the strategy will outline vectors in the development of Russia’s eastern regions. “We must set such parameters that will make it possible for the Far East to live, not just survive,” he stressed.

“In particular, the economy there must develop no worse than across Russia on the average, ensuring a high level of gross regional product per capita. One must understand that the state cannot constantly invest in the Far East, that is why it is necessary to create conditions for a successful development of the region – tax preferences, for example,” the envoy said.

“Besides, we believe the state will be creating its infrastructure at an accelerated pace. Purchasing power of the population must grow so that to orient the economy towards the domestic demand. There are a lot of offers to include in the Strategy,” he said.

According to the envoy office’s press service, the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Naryshkin, has issued an instruction to put Ishayev at the head of the working group that will develop the strategy and the forecast.

.RF economics ministry proposes to curb natural monopolies’ tariffs rise.

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MOSCOW, July 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development proposes to slow down price rise on services of natural monopolies. Moreover, it suggests that such tariffs should be raised twice a year to diminish the shock of price hikes, deputy minister Andrei Klepach told journalists on Tuesday.

Thus, gas tariffs in 2012 are suggested to be raised by 12.5 percent, instead of the initially planned 15 percent. More to it, the tariff is to be raised by five percent from January 1, 2012, and further on – by 9.5 percent from April 1, 2012. The rise of electricity tariffs for consumers will be contained within the range of 11 to 12 percent in 2012, from seven to ten percent – in 2013, and from nine to 14 percent – in 2014, Klepach said. In his words, tariffs in 2012 may be raised by five percent from January 1, and by 6.5 percent from April 1.

It is also suggested that heat tariffs should be raised by eight percent from January 1, 2012, and by three percent more from April 1, 2012. Thus, according to Klepach, the overall price rise will be 10.9 percent, instead of the planned 11.3-11.5 percent.

.Shortage of civil aviation pilots in Russia to be overcome in 2012-2013.

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MOSCOW, July 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The shortage of qualified civil aviation pilots in Russia will be overcome in several years, Deputy Tra

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