President of Russia Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with his Kirghiz counterpart Askar Akayev late on Monday night. As Russian presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov told RIA Novosti, the president of Kirghizia told Vladimir Putin that the parliament of the republic had approved in its first reading an amendment to the country's Constitution which provides for giving the Russian language the status of an official language. The president of Russia expressed satisfaction with such a decision which once again demonstrates the close, friendly character of bilateral relations. Different questions of bilateral cooperation were discussed during the talk. According to reports, the legislative assembly - one of the chambers of the Kirghiz parliament - passed on Monday in its first reading a draft law on an amendment to the country's Constitution giving the official status to the Russian language. On the day before this draft law was approved also in its first reading by the deputies of the other chamber of Kirghizia's parliament - the assembly of people's representatives. The idea of giving the official status to the Russian language in Kirghizia came from president of the republic Askar Akayev. At the beginning of 2000 he signed a law on giving the official status to the Russian language in the republic. In this connection in 2001 a group of deputies of the Kirghiz parliament proposed making corresponding amendments to the country's Constitution.
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