Russia to Build 50 GLONASS Stations in 36 Countries

MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia plans to build 50 stations of Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) in several dozen countries across the world, Russian presidential administration chief told the Navitech 2014 forum for navigation system Wednesday.

“We will continue promoting GLONASS technologies on global markets. We will increase competitiveness of Russian navigation services. To this aim, we will create a ground measuring segment abroad,” Sergei Ivanov said.

“Ideally, in prospect, we would like to have 50 data-collection stations in 36 countries. This guarantees more stable and precise work of GLONASS,” Ivanov said.

Russia also plans to create a single navigation space with Kazakhstan and Belarus, Ivanov said.

The Global Navigation Satellite System, which began operating in 1993, is a Russian equivalent of the US Global Positioning System (GPS). The GLONASS network provides real-time positioning and speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects with an accuracy of one meter (three feet).

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FORECAST: Russian Stocks Under Pressure on Doubt Over Geneva Accords

MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti), Nikita Alentyev – As foreign investors return from Easter break, a boost to the Russian market by the April 17 Geneva accords has been replaced by fears the deal will not lead to a speedy resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Although global markets are trading in the black and Brent Crude remains relatively high, the Russian market shows no impetus for growth, and key players are becoming increasingly risk-averse. The external environment is assessed as neutral, as American indices showed moderate growth yesterday and Asian markets showed opposing principle dynamics.

During remarks in Kiev yesterday, US Vice President Joe Biden threatened Russia with international isolation and a new round of sanctions which could impact the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors, as well as banking. The Russian market has been hit not only by the geopolitical situation in eastern Ukraine, but also by a bleak Russian Economic Ministry forecast, indicating Russia could dip into recession in the second half of the year.

With no crucial political news scheduled for today, the expectation for the Russian MICEX is limited fluctuations with no overall upward trend. Although oil prices and positive dynamics in Europe could result in a strengthening of the ruble, the Russian currency has showed no signs of appreciation, being influenced by the same factors.

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Kiev Not Discussing Gas Transit Consortium with Russia

KIEV, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - Kiev is not discussing the creation of a gas transit consortium with Russia because the new leadership has not received any offers, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Wednesday.

Ukraine has suggested numerous times to create a consortium to run its gas transport system in a three-party format with Europe and Russia. However, Russian gas giant Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller said in December that this is not an item for discussion.

“Ukraine’s new leadership is not discussing the issue of creating a gas transit consortium with Russia because it hasn’t received any offers from the Russian side,” Prodan said.

Kiev currently owes Gazprom $2.2 billion, but by the end of this year the figure may raise up to $5 billion. Amid the current political standoff between Ukraine and Russia, the energy giant has cancelled two major gas discounts for Ukraine, bringing the price to $485 per thousand cubic meters starting April 1.

Over the past five years, Russia has supplied Ukraine with nearly 150 billion cubic meters of gas. While importing the Russian gas, Ukraine has systematically delayed payments. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated earlier this month that Ukraine owes Russia $17 billion in gas discounts and another $18.4 billion has been incurred as a minimal take-or-pay fine.

Putin noted that Russia has subsidized the Ukrainian economy by $35.4 billion by providing discounts on natural gas, adding that Moscow will wait for one more month before switching to requiring advance payments.

The EU has agreed with Russia that consultations should be held to ensure the uninterrupted flow of natural gas to Europe amid the crisis in Ukraine, according to an open letter by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

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Hong Kong to Build Science Park in Southern Russia's Krasnodar

KRASNODAR, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – A Hong Kong-based investment holding company, China Merchants Holdings, plans to invest 11 billion rubles ($307.9 million) in the construction of a technology park in southern Russia’s Krasnodar by 2019, the Krasnodar mayor’s office said Wednesday.

The construction of the science park signals China's push to cement business ties with Moscow and form a new China-Russia geopolitical alliance amid strained relations between Russia and the West.

Krasnodar Mayor Vladimir Yevlanov and the company’s general manager, Wang Zhixian, signed a framework agreement of intent Tuesday to fulfill the investment project.

“In prospect, it [technology park] will create 3,000 new jobs in the city. The investment amount will exceed 11 billion rubles,” Mikhail Kornilov, the director of the International Complex Industrial Technology Park-Kuban, was quoted by the office as saying.

China’s Zhixian said the project would become a “bridge of friendship, cooperation and partnership.”

The science park, covering the area of 15 hectares, will also include a 60,000 square meter shopping mall, a 5,000 square meter tourist complex, a hostel and logistic and industrial complexes, the mayor’s office said.

The construction is expected to begin in March 2015 and to be completed by December 2018.

China Merchants Holdings International Co Ltd, founded in 2003, is involved in a international financial activity, mediation of business and international trade. It actively cooperates with the IMF, London-based AQ Barclays and HSBC, and the Bank of China.

Last week, Chinese investors also announced plans to launch the first phase of a major Siberian timber complex later this year. Investment in the project has already reached 9 billion rubles ($250 million).The overall investment in timber logging, processing and related infrastructure is expected to reach 30 billion rubles ($830 million) by 2022.

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Storming the Command Center


In Pskov region, next to Estonia, a check was held for the 76th storm-airborne division of Russian army. On a land strip of three kilometers soldiers have tried to storm a command centre which was captured by “saboteurs”. You can click the photos for the wider images.

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China Considers Russian Satellite-Based Emergency Response System

MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – Chinese officials have expressed interest in participating in a Russian emergency response system, the CEO of Russia’s Navigation Information Systems told RIA Novosti.

The system, called ERA-GLONASS, provides data from Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System to emergency responders. Based on the European eCall/E112 standard, ERA-GLONASS allows emergency services to immediately pinpoint the location of car accidents or similar critical situations.

NIS CEO Alexander Gurko said a Russian-Chinese commission had discussed the matter during talks on Friday in the Far East, attended by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the space industry.

"Our colleagues from China are very interested in our experience, they asked us to tell them more about the ERA-GLONASS satellite system. It was suggested to create a working group and eventually, perhaps, a joint service provider on the basis of such a system," Gurko said.

China could potentially implement the ERA-GLONASS system in combination with its own network of navigation satellites, called BeiDou. The system is also compatible with the US GPS satellite constellation.

Gurko added that later this decade all cars sold in a customs union composed of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will be required to be equipped with the system, which can automatically detect the high acceleration of car crashes and automatically alert emergency services to the location of the crash, even if the driver and passengers are incapacitated.

Information about an accident is delivered to the ERA-GLONASS contact centers, where the operators contact the driver to clarify the situation, and then transfer the necessary data police and ambulance dispatchers.

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Russian 'Disneyland' to Open in Sochi Next Month

SOCHI, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – The Sochi amusement park in the Russian resort city, which earlier hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, is to open its doors to the first visitors this May, with a grand opening set for early June, the city authority said Tuesday.

“Over 18 attractions will be available to visitors by the time of the opening. The park operated in a test mode during the Olympics, offering its guests only six rides,” the message by the Sochi administration said.

The Sochi Park, also known to locals as the “Russian Disneyland,” is located in the sprawling Imeret Lowlands and borders on the Olympic Park, the location of the magnificent skating and hockey venues.

The authority said that ticket prices will fluctuate throughout the year based on the season, but the maximum price will be fixed at 1,500 rubles (roughly 42 dollars). A full ticket will grant its buyer access to absolutely all carrousels and rides in the park.

Although dubbed after the world-famous Disneyland franchise, the Russian land of amusement and fantasy is reportedly styled after the Russian fairy world and cartoons familiar to generations of Russians.

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Putin Meets with Russia's Youngest Polar Explorers

MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with the participants of a teen polar expedition who returned from the North Pole, offering them a role in youth projects of the Russian Geographical Society.

“Your expedition was very difficult. The ice pack floated away. On top of that there was abnormally cold weather for this time of the year, 45 degrees below zero,” Putin said, adding that they should take part in youth projects of the Russian Geographical Society, which the president supervises.

The teenagers from different regions of Russia returned to Moscow from the Arctic less than a day ago and shared their impressions with the president. The head of the expedition, famous explorer Matvei Shapiro, said that initially the team had landed by helicopter 110 kilometers from the North Pole, but because of the strong ice drift they were forced to ski for 180 kilometers.

The Russian team of seven 16-year-olds together with two experienced polar explorers and Children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov conquered the North Pole last Friday. They were scheduled to return to Moscow on Sunday, but due to an ice storm the evacuation was postponed. The young travelers were picked up Sunday by aircraft of the Federal Security Service.

Russia regards the North Pole as one of its top priorities. Last year, Moscow unveiled a strategy aimed at increasing its presence in the Arctic and boosting the region's development by 2020. Experts say it may take Russia five to seven years to ratchet up its Arctic exploration effort to what it was during its golden era in the 1930-40s.

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