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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Jan. 8, 2008

080108.jpgTODAY: Russian relations with EU could improve in wake of Slovenian presidency; Brazil meets with Russia over meat exports; Georgia leader wants to mend relations; Russia and Angola to combat drug trafficking; Russian space research is booming, says Russian Academy. The 5th State Duma will begin its legislative work on January 9, with over 600 bills to discuss. The new EU presidency of Slovenia could lead to a “long-delayed agreement between the EU and Russia,” according to one report. Russia considers Slovenia “a close ally,” and this, combined with its newly improved relations with Poland, could improve relations with the EU. Another report says that, on a political level, the EU and Russia “are struggling to find legislation they can agree on.”

Brazil is in discussions with Russia this week about health and hygiene controls for meat exports. Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili has publicly announced that he wants to improve the country’s “pretty damaged relations with Russia.” The Russian Federation has reportedly formed an accord with the Angolan government to combat drug trafficking. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson says that Moscow is “seriously concerned” about the continuing turmoil in Palestinian-Israeli relations.Indian trainers are teaching Malaysian pilots to fly Russian jet fighters as part of an Indian-Malaysian military cooperation program. Russia’s Space Research Institute is preparing several craft for an expedition to Jupiter and its moon Europa in a project called Laplace. The Institute also says that Russia is “technically ready” for a manned flight to Mars in early 2020.PHOTO: People look at ice sculptures as they celebrate Christmas in the centre of Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, January 7, 2008. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin (RUSSIA)