The Russian Finance Ministry assumes that the ruble's strengthening may amount to 4-6 percent in real terms this year, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin declared at the fourth annual conference devoted to the economic situation and investment climate in Russia. Kudrin admitted that in 2002 ruble had not strengthened in a practical sense.
The Finance Minister mentioned that in 2002 the dynamics of the growth in imports had decreased to 12 percent, compared to 19.8 percent in 2001. According to him, this tendency amid measures aimed at diversifying the national economy will trigger the development of the domestic industry. In this respect he stressed that the Russian government was planning to redistribute the tax burden between the raw material producing and processing industries.
An unidentified man wielding a knife attacked civilians in the Church of Notre Dame in the French city of Nice. Three people were killed, several others were hospitalised with injuries.One of the victims was beheaded