Russia expects to harvest about 30 million tonnes of grain this year. This was revealed by Farming Minister Alexei Gordeev at a briefing in the White House. Gordeev said that if all levels of government consolidate their sowing and crop gathering efforts, the harvest could be as high as 75 million tonnes. He predicted that, with the inclusion of winter crops, the total area of land planted with grain and leguminous crops would be 47.5 million hectares in 2003, which is roughly the same as last year's figure.
Gordeev also said that the Finance Ministry has been given an order to find 3.8 billion roubles (USD 121 million) for the farming sector as compensation for the losses it incurred as a result of last summer's natural disasters. He said that appeals from those regions which are suffering most are currently being considered.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.