Alexei Kudrin, Russia's vice-premier finance minister, predicts a reduction in the tax burden in Russia by about 1.5-2 percent of GDP next year, and by up to 2 percent of GDP this year. When addressing the 15th session of the consultative council on foreign investments, Kudrin noted that this reduction would be achieved as a result of legislative measures taken by the government in this sphere. Speaking of these measures, Kudrin singled out adoption of two chapters of the Tax Code, introduction of amendments to the law on mineral resources, and legal formalisation of maximum amounts of oil export duties which depend on world oil prices. In Kudrin's opinion, a reduction in profit tax rates is the most important measure in this sphere. Beginning 2002, profit taxes will be reduced from 35 down to 24 percent. Meanwhile, regional authorities will have the right to reduce this tax to 20 percent.
Two ballistic missiles attacked the US Navy destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) from the territory of Yemen. The destroyer came to the aid of the hijacked Central Park tanker of Zodiac Maritime