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Quick jump to below stories:
Russia confirms missile defence contract with Iran
China's Energy Efficiency Goal "Near-Impossible"

Russia confirms missile defence contract with Iran

Thursday, February 09, 2006 09:57:52 pm

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

MOSCOW: Amid the escalating crisis around Iran's nuclear programme, Russia said on Thursday that it will still arm Tehran with missiles that can secure nuclear facilities from attacks.

"We concluded a contract for the supply of air-defence systems to Iran and there is no reason not to fulfil it," Mikhail Dmitriyev, the head of Russia's military-technical cooperation agency, said.

Worth an estimated $700 million, the deal for up to 30 Tor M-1 surface-to-air missiles is the largest since Russia in 2000 withdrew from an agreement with the US restricting the supply of military hardware to Iran.

Dmitriyev rejected media reports that talks were underway for the additional supply of heavier S-300 air-defence missiles.

Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov has stressed that the Tor is a defensive system and that the sale does not violate Russia's international obligations.

The weapon is effective against aircraft, cruise missiles and guided bombs. There was no indication when the systems would be shipped to Iran.

The missiles are expected to be deployed at the nuclear research centre at Isfahan and the reactor that Russia is completing for Iran at the southern port of Bushehr.

According to Dmitriyev, Russia's overall exports of arms in 2005 were worth a record $6.1 billion. The sales target for 2006 is $7 billion, he added.

The main customers for Russian military hardware are China and India.

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China's Energy Efficiency Goal "Near-Impossible"

By Erik Dahl
09 Feb 2006 at 09:22 AM EST

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

BEIJING (Interfax-China) -- China's goal to reduce energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of GDP) by 20% before 2010 is "near-impossible" using the government's official statistics, a new report from the World Bank states.

"To meet the 20% reduction in only five years could require pretty tough policies that might hurt growth," Louis Kuijs, senior economist for the World Bank in China, told Interfax.

The World Bank also has concerns about the policies suggested by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) including the classification of industries into ones that should be encouraged, discouraged or banned, said Kuijs.

Adjusting energy prices is a more appropriate and market-friendly method, Kuijs said.

"China has been adjusting energy prices for a long time, and indications are that helped improve the energy intensity. There is still a lot of scope for raising energy prices," said Kuijs.

Higher prices are also likely to eliminate the occasional shortages of gasoline that have hit the country in recent months, according to the report.

From 2001 to 2004, energy intensity has skyrocketed, with growth in energy use exceeding GDP growth, according to official data, which some experts have questioned.

Some have suggested that the official data is not correct, and the situation has not actually been deteriorating.

Policies in the 1990s aimed at closing small mines may have resulted in them being taken off the books instead of being closed. They therefore may have disappeared from the statistics, leading to a rapid apparent decline in energy intensity. If the "closed" mines are included in the data, the decline has been smooth and the recent spike is eliminated.

"Even with the better numbers, the 20% reduction in only five years is still an ambitions target," said Kuijs.

According to these estimates, elasticity has been 0.5 over the last five years, which means that every 10% increase in GDP required a 5% increase in energy use.

Assuming 7.5% growth, enough to reach China's target of doubling GDP between 2000 and 2010, energy elasticity would have to be 0.34, with every 10% increase in GDP requiring a 3.4% increase in energy use.

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