President Vladimir Putin has met with the leaders of the organisational committee of Delovaya Rossia parliamentary association. The president began with the issues to be discussed during the conversation and to be considered by the union's congress due on Wednesday. First of all, the president noted, the Tax and Dues Ministry and the Economic Development Ministry are drafting a package of suggestions pertinent to small and medium-size business in the taxation sphere. In his words, this package of bills will be submitted to the State Duma later this year or early next year, and congress delegates will have to discuss respective proposals and subsequently submit them to the government. Besides, the president highlighted the problem of international cooperation between small and medium-size businesses in the context of Russia's forthcoming membership in the WTO. According to the head of state, joining the WTO is a priority for Russia, but it implies competitiveness of Russian goods on the world markets. However, he stressed, many Russian goods cannot be called competitive, and we should know what to expect from Russia's joining the WTO. At the same time, the president expressed confidence that Russia's WTO membership would have a good effect on the country in the final count. The head of state named staff training among the priority tasks. Educational problems are in the focus of attention today but professional and professional-technical education which is significant for the industrial and services sphere does not receive sufficient attention. According to the president, the state cannot achieve any tangible results without assistance from entrepreneurs.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building