#4 - JRL 7218
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (email@example.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office
Tuesday, April 1, 2003
- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met with the foreign ministers of Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru, the nations that make up the so-called Rio Group, the most influential international organization in Latin America. Putin expressed his hope that the visit of the "troika" will be a good impetus for the development of relations between Russia and the Latin American countries.
- Foreign Minister Ivanov spoke over the telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. They exchanged their opinions on the situation in Iraq, and discussed bilateral cooperation. Powell and Ivanov will meet in Brussels on April 3rd.
- The Ministry of Economic Development submitted a draft of the law "On compulsory medical insurance" to the Cabinet. The new draft is expected to solve certain financial problems and ensure the provision of free medical attention throughout the country.
- The spring military draft begins throughout Russia. 175,000 men must be recruited. According to Ministry of Defense estimates, only about 12% of the eligible men actually enter the service. Half receive deferrals to complete their education and another third are exempted for medical reasons. Generals note that new recruits generally have a low level of education and health problems.
- Leading Chechen newspapers doubled their circulation today. They carried the texts of the Constitution and the laws on presidential and parliamentary elections, which go into force today.
- Minister of Atomic Energy Aleksandr Rumyantsev reported to President Putin on the state of affairs at Russian nuclear sites. According to his estimates, the Ministry will bring about $3 billion in exports this year. Most of this money will be spent on raising safety levels at the nuclear power plants.
- Hearings on last year's strikes by air traffic controllers begin in Omsk. The Transportation Prosecutor's Office is demanding that such protests be made illegal in the future.
- Rescue workers set up a humanitarian aid campsite at the border of Iraq and Iran. A second camp will be set up near the settlement of Telekuh.
- Russian doctors champion the evacuation of wounded Iraqi children out of the regions of military actions, above all, Baghdad and Basra. Negotiations about the creation of a so-called Green Corridor will be held tomorrow at the headquarters of the Red Cross in Geneva.
- Pension payments have been raised by an average of 135 rubles a month. The insurance segment will be indexed with the employment and salary history of the pensioner.
- Famous Russian composer Sergei Rakhmaninov was born 130 years ago today.