RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – April 15, 2008

150408.jpgTODAY: Medvedev mastering yoga, will be offered United Russia seat. Head of Russian Juice Producers Union beaten to death. Storchak has not been questioned since his arrest. Ban Ki-moon allegations “fabrication”. Bird flu; Stalin’s weird science. The past two Russian presidents “have launched tennis and judo trends”, and now Dmitry Medvedev is reportedly “mastering yoga”. Medvedev is to be offered a seat by the United Russia party. Meanwhile the party has opened a two-day congress in Moscow “that is expected to set the tone for how the country will be governed once Vladimir Putin leaves the presidency.” A report on Moscow’s “blossomingcontemporary art scene. The head of the Russian Juice Producers Union was beaten to death by “unidentified assailants” on the grounds of his Moscow home. “The domestic juice industry has been linked in the past to criminal groups.” A Chechen crime boss with links to the murder of Anna Politkovskaya has been abducted in Moscow. Russian investigators have “failed” to question Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak since his embezzlement arrest last November. A 19-year-old who sent an anonymous letter warning of an attempt on Medvedev’s life has been charged for providing “knowingly false information about a terrorist act”. Has the privatization of federally-registered monuments in St. Petersburg begun?

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s UN ambassador, dismissed as “pure and simple fabrication” a report that Russia threatened to block a second term for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon because of his stance on Kosovo. President Vladimir Putin is to be the first Russian leader to visit Libya, traveling there this week to discuss a potentially major arms deal that could be worth up to $3 billion. Russia will continue talks with Japan on settling their territorial dispute over Kuril, despite Sergei Lavrov saying that thus far, there has been no progress on the matter. Lavrov also says Russia wants a collective missile defense system that will protect the US, Russia and Japan. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will visit Moscow next week to discuss plans for a Middle East peace conference.Scientists in Russia’s Perm region are investigating the death of around 40,000 birds at a poultry farm that they are worried could have been caused by bird flu. A Soviet science institute was thought to have been linked to a secret planto create a man-ape hybrid that would become a Soviet superman.” But today’s strangest allegation: Vladimir Putin to re-marry?PHOTO: Dmitry Medvedev. (Itar-Tass)