Russian News: September 23rd, 2008!

Hot News!The state company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. has announced a new agreement with Gazprom concerning the Russian monopoly’s first foreign project to produce liquefied natural gas. Gazprom will invest about $850 million in the course of seven years and receive the income from the sale of 700,000 tons of liquefied natural gas, that is, about $420 million at current prices, per year. Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom deputy chairman, and Rafael Ramirez, Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister and president of PDVSA, held negotiations last Friday and signed a memorandum of understanding on the Blanquilla and Tortuga project in the presence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Estonian police have arrested high-ranking member of the Defense Ministry Herman Simm on accusations of espionage. His wife Heete Simm, a police lawyer, faces similarly charges. Estonian authorities have not named the country the couple were providing information to, but Estonian media and local experts claim it was Russia. Herman Simm, 61, was responsible for military secrets. In spite of several earlier claims by the government of Russian espionage operations in the country, this is the first spy case in the modern history of the country in which an actual agent has been identified.

Food prices went up 12.2 percent in Russia from January through August, Interfax reported with reference to the country’s statistics authority Rosstat. Of interest is that the prices averagely stepped up no more than 3 percent in the European Union.

Georgian authorities intend to protest to the European Union about “violations of the Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement by Russia.” Tbilisi maintains that the agreement was violated in the village of Khurcha, near the border with Abkhazia, where one Georgian policeman died and two were injured in gunfire issuing from unknown sources. That was the third such incident in recent days. Georgian policemen have also been killed by sniper fire near the village of Karaleti, on the Georgian border with South Ossetia, where a Russian checkpoint is located, and on the bank of the Inguri River, which separates Georgia from Abkhazia.

Russia, Egypt, Qatar, Algeria and Iran are willing to host headquarters of gas OPEC – GECF, Interfax-AGI reported.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in China on Tuesday for a three-day state visit, part of his week-long world tour which includes Russia, Portugal and France.

The official dollar rate set by the Russian Central Bank for September 24 is 24,9864 rubles, down 28.26 kopeks from Tuesday, the Central Bank said.

An intestinal infection has hospitalized a total of 29 cadets from a military school in the city of Minusinsk in East Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk Territory, a source in the regional consumers rights watchdog said on Tuesday.