MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti)
Chelyabinsk to Celebrate One Month Since the Meteorite Crash
It’s been one month since a meteorite fell on Chelyabinsk. Today scientists from the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry are scheduled to announce the findings yielded by their analysis of the meteorite matter.
The Chelyabinsk Region Governor, Mikhail Yurevich, ordered a map of the meteorite’s streaking path and a corresponding local weather and seismic data report to be drawn up for researchers.
Chebarkul Mayor, Andrei Orlov, announced a competition for the best idea on how to profit from a meteorite crashing into the city, promising a “meteor fragment” as a prize. Among other things, he would like his city to be included on the list of national tourist destinations.
A group of scientists from Charles University, Czech Republic, arrived in Chebarkul to inspect the impact site and to take magnetic measurements.
Another visitor, Dr. Peter Jenniskens, a meteor astronomer from the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute and NASA/Ames Research Center, showed up in Chelyabinsk to confer with the Russian scientists and inspect the meteorite sites.
Yet another guest of Chelyabinsk, military psychic Vitaly Bograd, believes the meteorite event was no accident: “It’s a sign from above. God threw a stone into a henhouse to show who the master is. He is saying to people: You are not alone in the Universe. Nothing depends on you. Even if Chelyabinsk residents knew in advance that a meteorite was heading for them, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it.”
In the meantime, the regional hospital, the drama theater, the ice palace, the swimming pool and the volleyball club, which were all hit by the shock wave as the meteorite exploded, are still without windows. Repairs are expected to be completed by March 20.
Iron Maiden Drummer Clive Burr, 56, Dies
As an aspiring musician, Clive Burr was greatly influenced by Deep Purple and the band’s drummer, Ian Paice, who actually inspired him to play hard rock.
Burr started with Trust, a French band that mixed punk rock and heavy metal. In 1977 he met Nicko McBrain who would play an important role in his career.
Clive Burr was a hard rock legend, and he is mostly associated with the first three, and most popular, Iron Maiden albums: Iron Maiden (1980), Killers (1981) and The Number of the Beast (1982).
Playing with a top British heavy metal band, Clive Burr rocketed to fame. Later, he played in Alcatrazz and supergroup Gogmagog, with Janick Gers (Ian Gillan Band, Iron Maiden), Pete Willis from Def Leppard and bass legend Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath).
Apart from Iron Maiden, Clive Burr’s drumming was featured on ten albums by other bands. In the late 1990’s he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which eventually put an end to his music career.
Burr’s treatment left him deeply in debt. His fellow band members from Iron Maiden founded the Burr MS Trust Fund and staged a series of charity concerts titled Clive Aid.
Kazakhstan Complains of Discrimination in Customs Union
Whereas Russia and Belarus, two members of the three-country Customs Union, feel quite comfortable within its framework, the third – Kazakhstan – says it is being forced to maneuver between its stronger neighbors’ trade protection policies.
Last year was not especially successful for any of the members of the Customs Union, a trade and economic integration bloc including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan aimed at forming a broader European Union-type economic alliance of former Soviet republics. While in 2010 and 2011 trilateral trade between them grew by 29 percent and 33 percent to $47 billion and $63 billion, last year’s figures were far less optimistic – growth of 8.7 percent to $68.5 billion. Moreover, Kazakhstan’s trade with the other two countries actually fell by 3.7 percent.
Officials in Kazakhstan seem to attribute their less than encouraging macroeconomic situation to both domestic problems (imperfect legislation and products unable to compete on external markets) and the protectionist barriers installed by the other two countries.
Hardest hit are food products. Kazakhstan also feels it is being discriminated against on the alcohol and confectionary markets as Russian laws prevent it from exporting a whole range of these products. VAT on imported goods also poses a problem. Russian baby juice is taxed at 10 percent instead of 18 percent while Kazakh producers are charged the full rate, said Timur Suleimenov, Economic and Finance Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EAEC).
Russia and Belarus also tend to enjoy preferential treatment with regard to state procurement, he said. Russia tried to limit state contracts to supply fabric for uniforms to domestic producers only, which contradicts an existing agreement on state and municipal procurement. Belarus tried to introduce a similar initiative with regard to domestic construction materials. “There should be no preferences for local producers,” Suleimenov stressed.
EAEC has proposed working out fairer rules for mutual trade, common rules regulating the more sensitive sectors and industry-based agreements for the larger markets.
The Russian Government is already working on removing some of the barriers, Deputy Trade Minister Viktor Yevtukhov said. “Limited access to Russia’s confectionary market could only apply to Kazakh and Belarusian products which are similar to Russian ones or have similar brands. The best example is Alyonka chocolate, which is produced in Russia as well as by its Customs Union partners,” he said.
The Federal Customs Service said the issue was outside its competence.
Dr Natalya Volchkova from the New Economic School doubts that the figures are correct, because there are no customs statistics within the union anymore. The decline was mostly due to a fall in commodities trade, while manufactured goods reached a record 59 percent of Kazakhstan’s exports last year, she said.
The Customs Union was expected to primarily benefit Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, more than 100 trade barriers still exist within it, equally limiting trade for all three members. Many supranational decisions have not been implemented at the national level, Volchkova said. Although it is possible to establish identical regulatory systems, it would take too long.
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