MOSCOW, July 16 (RIA Novosti)
Russian lawmakers have concluded their first session since the December 2011 parliamentary elections. Although the pro-Kremlin United Russia has lost its constitutional majority in the State Duma, it remains a reliable tool used by the Kremlin to push its initiatives through parliament.
Up to 25 political parties will be able to take part in local parliamentary and governor elections that will be held in 11 Russian regions in October.
Africa has come to the brink of another large-scale war – this time a war against terrorism. African nations are considering launching an international military operation against al-Qaeda-backed Islamist militants who have taken control of northern Mali. Such an operation would require approval of the United Nations Security Council, whose five veto-wielding members are likely to support it.
A diplomatic scandal broke out between Russia and Saudi Arabia after Moscow criticized the Sunni monarchy for suppressing protests staged by members of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority in the country’s east. Riyadh asked Moscow a not to interfere in its domestic affairs. Analysts say the dispute is a result of growing tensions between Moscow and Sunni Arab powers over the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Russia has moved to increase its influence in the international arena by encouraging its diplomats to use social media. The Russian Foreign Ministry is planning to open a Facebook page in the near future and has already launched special courses to teach diplomats how to make the most of their Twitter accounts to help promote Russia’s position on the world stage.
United Russia parliamentarians want to introduce amendments to a law on mass media in the fall which would order Russian media which receive more than half of their funding from abroad to register as “media operating in the interests of foreign states.”
Russia’s Public Chamber and United Russia party have moved to introduce amendments to the law regulating the operation of volunteer groups. Opposition lawmakers and volunteer organizations believe the proposed amendments would establish government control over volunteering.
(Kommersant, Moskovskiye Novosti)
Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has signed a decree putting himself in charge of overseeing the ministry’s cooperation with civil society institutions and the media.
Human rights NGOs working in Russia which have received grants from abroad are considering other funding opportunities in order to avoid registering as “foreign agents” in line with a new law passed by Russia’s State Duma.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to take into consideration the opinions of trade unions and employers while implementing presidential orders in the social sphere.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Russian companies are returning empty-handed from the Farnborough air show in Britain.
In line with a spending plan for 2013-2020 approved by the government, Russia will allocate 1.5 trillion rubles ($46.06 billion) for agricultural programs instead of 2.5 trillion ($76.77 billion) demanded by the Agriculture Ministry.
A ban on advertizing alcohol on the internet will come into force in Russia the near future. The wording of the new legislation would effectively outlaw the websites of elite wine retailers as well as all alcohol production companies.
The Kremlin is launching its own economic consultative council, an analogue of the U.S. presidential Council of Economic Advisers. Kremlin administration officials dismiss allegations that the council would carry out government functions.
The Russian Finance Ministry has proposed cutting spending on arms purchases by some 20 percent in 2013-2015.
For more details on all the news in Russia today, visit our website at http://en.ria.ru.
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